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[Sir Walter Scott.] Letters on Demonology and Witc(Bookos.org)

[Sir Walter Scott.] Letters on Demonology and Witc(Bookos.org)

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Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft

Sir Walter Scott
George Routledge ASIN: B002F4RN9K

Visual Nerve, those upon the Ear next considered — Delusions of the Touch chiefly experienced in Sleep — Delusions. of the Taste — And of the Smelling — Sum of the Argument. You have asked of me, my dear friend, that I should assist the “Family Library” with the history of a dark chapter in human nature, which the increasing civilization of all wellinstructed countries has now almost blotted out, though the subject attracted no ordinary degree of consideration in the older times of their history. Among much reading of my earlier days, it is no doubt true that I travelled a good deal in the twilight regions of superstitious disquisitions. Many hours have I lost — “I would their debt were less !” — in examining, old as well as more recent narratives of this character, and even in looking into some of the criminal trials so frequent in early days, upon a subject which our fathers considered as a matter of the last importance. And, of late years, the very curious extracts published by Mr. Pitcairn, from the Criminal Records of Scotland, are, besides their historical value, of a nature so much calculated to illustrate the credulity of our ancestors on such subjects, that, by perusing them, I have been induced more recently to recall what I bad read and thought upon the subject at a former period. As, however, my information is only miscellaneous, and I make no pretensions, either to combat the systems of those by whom I am anticipated in consideration of the subject, or to erect any new one of my own, my purpose is, after a general account of Demonology and Witchcraft, to confine myself to narratives of remarkable cases, and to the observations which naturally and easily arise out of them; — in the confidence that such a plan is, at the present time of day, more likely to suit the pages of a popular miscellany, than an attempt to reduce the contents of many hundred tomes, from the largest to the smallest size, into an abridgement, which, however compressed, must remain greatly too large for the reader's powers of patience. A few general remarks on the nature of Demonology, and the original cause of the almost universal belief in communication betwixt mortals and beings of a power superior to themselves, and of a nature not to be comprehended by human organs, are a necessary introduction to the subject. The general, or, it may be termed, the universal belief of the inhabitants of the earth, in

the existence of spirits separated from the encumbrance and incapacities of the body, is grounded on the consciousness of the divinity that speaks in our bosoms, and demonstrates to all men, except the few who are hardened to the celestial voice, that there is within us a portion of the divine substance, which is not subject to the law of death and dissolution, but which, when the body is no longer fit for its abode, shall seek its own place, as a sentinel dismissed from his post. Unaided by revelation, it cannot be hoped that mere earthly reason should be able to form any rational or precise conjecture concerning the destination of the soul when parted from the body ; but the conviction that such an indestructible essence exists, the belief expressed by the poet in a different sense, Non omnis moriar , must infer the existence of many millions of spirits who have not been annihilated, though they have become invisible to mortals who still see, hear, and perceive, only by means of the imperfect organs of humanity. Probability may lead some of the most reflecting to anticipate a state of future rewards and punishments; as those experienced in the education of the deaf and dumb find that their pupils, even while cut off from all instruction by ordinary means, have been able to farm, out of their own unassisted conjectures, some ideas of the existence of a Deity, and of the distinction between the soul and body — a circumstance which proves how naturally these truths arise in the human mind. The principle that they do so arise, being taught or communicated, leads to further conclusions. These spirits, in a state of separate existence, being admitted to exist, are not, it may be supposed, indifferent to the affairs of mortality, perhaps not incapable of influencing them. It is true that, in a more advanced state of society, the philosopher may challenge the possibility of a separate appearance of a disembodied spirit, unless in the case of a direct miracle, to which, being a suspension of the laws of nature, directly wrought by the Maker of these laws, for some express purpose, no bound or restraint can possibly be assigned. But under this necessary limitation and exception, philosophers might plausibly argue that, when the soul is divorced from the body, it loses all those qualities which made it, when clothed with a mortal shape, obvious to the organs of its fellowmen. The abstract idea of a spirit certainly implies that it has neither substance, form, shape, voice, or anything which can render its presence visible or sensible to human faculties. But these sceptic doubts of philosophers on the possibility of the appearance of such separated spirits, do not arise till a certain degree of information has dawned upon a country, and even then only reach a very small proportion of reflecting and betterinformed members of society. To the multitude, the indubitable fact, that so many millions of spirits exist around and even amongst us, seems sufficient to support the belief that they are, in certain instances at least, by some means or other, able to communicate with the world of humanity. The more numerous part of mankind cannot form in their mind the idea of the spirit of the deceased existing, without possessing or having the power to assume the appearance which their acquaintance bore during his life, and do not push their researches beyond this point. Enthusiastic feelings of an impressive and solemn nature occur both in private and

public life, which seem to add ocular testimony to an intercourse betwixt earth and the world beyond it. For example, the son who has been lately deprived of his father feels a sudden crisis approach, in which he is anxious to have recourse to his sagacious advice — or a bereaved husband earnestly desires again to behold the form of which the grave has deprived him for ever — or, to use a darker yet very common instance, the wretched man who has dipped his hand in his fellow-creature's blood, is haunted by the apprehension that the phantom of the slain stands by the bedside of his murderer. In all or any of these cases, who shall doubt that imagination, favoured by circumstances, has power to summon up to the organ of sight, spectres which only exist in the mind of those by whom their apparition seems to be witnessed? If we add, that such a vision may take place in the course of one of those lively dreams in which the patient, except in respect to the single subject of one strong impression, is, or seems, sensible of the real particulars of the scene around him, a state of slumber which often occurs; if be is so far conscious, for example, as to know that he is lying on his own bed, and surrounded by his own familiar furniture at the time when the supposed apparition is manifested, it becomes almost in vain to argue with the visionary against the reality of his dream, since the spectre, though itself purely fanciful, is inserted amidst so many circumstances which he feels must be true beyond the reach of doubt or question. That which is undeniably certain becomes, in a manner, a warrant for the reality of the appearance to which doubt would have been otherwise attached. And if any event, such as the death of the person dreamt of, chances to take place, so as to correspond with the nature and the time of the apparition, the coincidence, though one which must be frequent, since our dreams usually refer to the accomplishment of that which haunts our minds when awake, and often presage the most probable events, seems perfect, and the chain of circumstances touching the evidence may not unreasonably be considered as complete. Such a concatenation, we repeat, must frequently take place, when it is considered of what stuff dreams are made — how naturally they turn upon those who occupy our mind while awake, and, when a soldier is exposed to death in battle, when a sailor is incurring the dangers of the sea, when a beloved wife or relative is attacked by disease, how readily our sleeping imagination rushes to the very point of alarm, which when waking it had shuddered to anticipate. The number of instances in which such lively dreams have been quoted, and both asserted and received as spiritual communications, is very great at all periods; in ignorant times, where the natural cause of dreaming is misapprehended and confused with an idea of mysticism, it is much greater. Yet, perhaps, considering the many thousands of dreams which must, night after night, pass through the imagination of individuals, the number of coincidences between the vision and real event are fewer and less remarkable than a fair calculation of chances would warrant us to expect. But in countries where such presaging dreams are subjects of attention, the number of those which seemed to be coupled with the corresponding issue, is large enough to spread a very general belief of a positive communication betwixt the living and the dead.

as often happens in these cases. One of his crew was murdered by a Portuguese assassin. After a short space be arose. Sailors are generally superstitious. took up a tin can or decanter. and succeeded in getting rid of his unwelcome visitor. an Irishman and a Catholic. according to his own expression. we find the excited imagination acting upon the half-waking senses. muttering to himself all the while — mixed salt in the water. and sprinkled it about the galley. though all pretended to have seen lights and heard noises. returning to his hammock. with a ghastly and disturbed countenance. took him from his place in the vessel. worried his life out. the captain determined to examine the story to the bottom. he sighed deeply. that the spectre of the murdered man appeared to him almost nightly. Finally. As the ship bell struck twelve. A most respectable person. but that be had fortunately. that the ghost had led him to the galley. when he was put to great anxiety and alarm by the following incident and its consequences. whose active life had been spent as master and part owner of a large merchant vessel in the Lisbon trade. staring before him as on some terrible object which he beheld with horror. or that tenor of thought which has been depressed into melancholy by gloomy anticipations respecting the future. proceeded to the galley or cook-room of the vessel. and sensible person. but in other respects a veracious. slept soundly. He was lying in the Tagus. be acquiesced in his commander's reasoning. and. without any argument at the time. but not sufficiently so to judge truly of the objects before him. He sate down with his eyes open. and it was probable they might desert rather then return to England with the ghost for a passenger. and those of my friend's vessel became unwilling to remain on board the ship. To prevent so great a calamity. privately resolved to watch the motions of the ghost-seer in the night. and lighting a candle. returned no more after its imposture had been detected. The captain. betwixt sleeping and waking. He soon found that. filled it with water. with the additional circumstances. and so forth. and the dream. honest. with so many particulars as to satisfy him he had been the dupe of his imagination.Somnambulism and other nocturnal deceptions frequently lend their aid to the formation of such phantasmata as are formed in this middle state. like one relieved from a heavy burden. or with a witness. which might increase his tendency to superstition. gave the writer an account of such an instance which came under his observation. whom Captain ——had no reason to suspect would wilfully deceive him. In the next morning the haunted man told the usual precise story of his apparition. obtained possession of some holy water. and a report arose that the ghost of the slain man haunted the vessel. the sleeper started up. yet from which he could not withhold his eyes. I have forgotten. he knew not how. whether alone. The visionary was then informed of the real transactions of the night. which disposes the mind . the weight of the evidence lay upon the statement of one of his own mates. which were intelligent enough for the purpose of making him sensible where he was. In this case. But it is not only private life alone. He affirmed to Captain S — —with the deepest obtestations. and. He made these communications with a degree of horror which intimated the reality of his distress and apprehensions.

their minds hold a natural correspondence with each other. the ancients supposed that they saw their deities. was powerful enough to conjure up to the anxious eye of Brutus the spectre of his murdered friend Caesar. is equally favourable to the indulgence of such supernatural communications. approaching. and amid the mortal tug of combat itself. act on the feelings of many men at once. the event had only been the renewal of civil wars. in absorbing and engrossing character. had probably long since assured him that the decision of the civil war must take place at or near that place. strong belief has wrought the same wonder. there is nothing else which might not be fashioned in a vivid dream or a waking reverie. by the strict rules of cross-examination and conflicting evidence. should at length place before his eyes in person the appearance which termed itself his evil genius. with all the doubt and uncertainty of its event. though by the slaughter of his own friend. It is not miraculous that the masculine spirit of Marcus Brutus. since. have in all times been supported by the greatest strength of testimony. and the Catholics were no less easily led to recognize the warlike Saint George or Saint James in the very front of the strife. Even in the field of death. well acquainted with the opinions of the Platonists. as it is said is the case with stringed instruments tuned to the same pitch. instead of having achieved the freedom of Rome. and the animating burst of enthusiasm. and his knowledge of the military art. Brutus own intentions. allowing that his own imagination supplied that part of his dialogue with the spectre. and it is also natural to think. respecting whose death he perhaps thought himself less justified than at the Ides of March. and was not likely to scrutinize very minutely the supposed vision.to mid-day fantasies. the heathen Scandinavian beheld the Choosers of the slain. of which. and a less dignified occasion. and promised again to meet him at Philippi. When the common feeling of danger. his contemporaries were little disposed to examine the testimony of a man so eminent. the chords of the others are supposed to vibrate in unison with the tones produced. the usual matter of which dreams consist. should be disposed to receive without doubt the idea that he had seen a real apparition. Such apparitions being generally visible to a multitude. and. which they might have thought applicable to another person. showing them the way to conquest. or excited exertion. when one is played. In such moments of undecided battle. and the conviction that it must involve his own fate and that of his country. fighting in the van for their encouragement. amid the violence. The anticipation of a dubious battle. hurry. which we have hitherto mentioned as occurring in solitude and amid darkness. That Brutus. or to nightly apparitions — a state of eager anxiety. that although no one saw the figure but himself. and the issue might appear most likely to conclude in the total subjection of liberty. and confusion of ideas incident to the situation. conceived they beheld the apparitions of those beings whom their national mythology associated with such scenes. Castor and Pollux. may be naturally conceived. If an artful or . or employed in dispatching others to these gloomy regions. distracted probably by recollection of the kindness and favour of the great individual whom he bad put to death to avenge the wrongs of his country. surrounded by darkness and solitude. and those who were themselves on the verge of the world of spirits.

The honest Conquestador owns that he himself did not see this animating vision . Peter Walker. he does not venture to disown the miracle. held for the purpose of a sign and warning of civil wars to come. the cause of which he explains from his own observation. that he beheld an individual cavalier. which would otherwise lead to detection of the fallacy. to whose eyes lie trusted rather than to his own. and led on his beloved Spaniards to victory.' In such cases. or into imposture. It is very curious to observe the Castilian cavalier's internal conviction that the rumour arose out of a mistake. to some uncommon appearance of the aurora borealis. and fighting strenuously in the very place where Saint James is said to have appeared. and there can be little doubt that it refers. But instead of proceeding to draw the necessary inference. from the first. until the beginning of the eighteenth century. whilst. named Francisco de Morla. one of the companions of the celebrated Cortez in his Mexican conquest. which do not appear to have been seen in Scotland so frequently as to be accounted a common and familiar atmospherical phenomenon.enthusiastic individual exclaims. and at once shows the imperfection of such a general testimony. he mentions the report inserted in the contemporary Chronicle of Gomara. at the same time. in other words. mounted on a chestnut horse. the number of persons present. what am I that I should have beheld the blessed apostle!” The other instance of the infectious character of superstition occurs in a Scottish book. or. One warrior catches the idea from another. nay. to trust to the eyes of others rather than to our own. and does not even affect to have seen the wonders. or the northern lights. becomes the means of strengthening it. The passage is striking and curious. and the ease with which it is procured. The conversion of the sceptical gentleman of whom he speaks is highly illustrative of popular credulity carried away into enthusiasm. in its first origin. the devout Conquestador exclaims — ” Sinner that I am. to see as much of the supernatural as is seen by others around. from which all draw confidence and hope. in the heat of action. was a man of credit. and the battle is won before the mistake is discovered. . all are alike eager to acknowledge the present miracle. who. for the narrator. had considered the heavenly phenomenon as a supernatural weapon-schaw. that he perceives an apparition of the romantic kind which has been intimated. and most are willing to sacrifice the conviction of their own senses. that Saint Iago had appeared on a white horse in van of the combat. by the evidence of those around. Of this disposition. After having given an account of a great victory over extreme odds. though an enthusiast. The first is from the ” Historia Verdadera” of Don Bernal Dias del Castillo. rather than allow that they did not witness the same favourable emblem. the reality of which he unscrupulously adopts on the testimony of others. we may take the liberty to quote two remarkable instances. since the general excitement of the moment impels even the more cold-blooded and judicious persons present to catch up the ideas and echo the exclamations of the majority. his companions catch at the idea with emulation.

“ By heaven it wags! it wags again !” contrived in a few minutes to blockade the whole street with an immense crowd. with his eyes riveted on the well-known bronze lion that graces the front of Northumberland House in the Strand.e. in the months of June and July.” says the honest chronicler. whether small or three-barr'd. and the possibility of correcting vagaries of the imagination rendered more difficult by want of the ordinary appeal to the evidence of the bodily senses.' and immediately there was a discernible change in his countenance. Unfortunately. he called out. saw a bonnet and a sword drop in the way. although it is somewhat allied to that . and swords. who planted himself in an attitude of astonishment. and the closing knots of the bonnets. . and a third that saw not. who said. unless in the case of dreamers. we have supposed that the ghost-seer has been in full possession of his ordinary powers of perception. if real. and. and. black or blue. ' All you that do not see. or Highland guards. and those who did see them there. that was discernible to all from those that saw not. for I persuade you it is matter of fact. many people gathered together for several afternoons.”* This singular phenomenon. where there were showers of bonnets. guns. and what handles the swords had. there was such a fright and trembling on those that did see. marching the same way. I went there three afternoons together.' And those who did see told what works (i. With as much fear and trembling as any woman I saw there. have been equally obvious to all. on the water of Clyde. they possessed the ordinary capacity of ascertaining the truth or discerning the falsehood of external appearances by an appeal to the organ of sight. which covered the trees and the ground. There was a gentleman standing next to me who spoke as too many gentlemen and others speak. there were twothirds of the people that were together saw. though I could see nothing. and then all falling to the ground and disappearing. and having attracted the attention of those who looked at him by muttering. going all through other. “ many yet alive can witness that about the Crossford Boat. and their length and wideness. On such occasions as we have hitherto mentioned. bats. may be compared with the exploit of the humourist. there certainly exists more than one disorder known to professional men of which one important symptom is a disposition to see apparitions. some conceiving that they had absolutely seen the lion of Percy wag his tail. two miles beneath Lanark. whenever they went abroad. as I observed. other companies immediately appeared. in whom they may have been obscured by temporary slumber. however.“ In the year 1686. locks) the guns had. in which a multitude believed. companies of men in arms marching in order upon the waterside. This frightful disorder is not properly insanity. and discernible to all that is not stone-blind. In other respects their blood beat temperately. companies meeting companies. especially at the Mains. although only two-thirds of them saw what must. as is now universally known and admitted. say nothing. 'A pack of damned witches and warlocks that have the second sight! the devil ha't do I see. others expecting to witness the same phenomenon.

He went little. which made him love to see the relief of distress. and he contrived to account for all that seemed inconsistent with his imaginary right of property — there were many patients in it. everything he eat tasted of porridge. therefore. yet not absolutely powerful enough to contend with the honest evidence of his stomach and palate. only the patients go a step further. and would indeed have confounded most bons vivants. The disease lay in the extreme vivacity of the patient's imagination. offer in vain to the lunatic their decided testimony against the fantasy of a deranged imagination. The poor man's malady had taken a gay turn. instead of such a banquet as Ude would have displayed when peers were to partake of it. and although such hallucinations are proper to both. But the disorder to which I previously alluded is entirely of a bodily character. and consists principally in a disease of the visual organs. or rather never abroad — but then his habits were of a domestic and rather sedentary character. and is occasioned by different causes. “in his table. and yet. bad every day a dinner of three regular courses and a dessert . which. in which the sense of taste controlled and attempted to restrain the ideal hypothesis adopted by a deranged imagination. somehow or other. the mind of the patient is principally affected. have agreed that it actually occurs. He did not see much company — but he daily received visits from the first characters in the renowned medical school of this city. who have given their attestations to the existence of this most distressing complaint. which imposes upon and overpowers the evidence of the senses. become subject to what is popularly called the Blue Devils. instances of which mental disorder may be . It is a disease of the same nature which renders many men incapable of distinguishing colours. Here. but the sense of seeing (or bearing) which betrays its duty and conveys false ideas to a sane intellect More than one learned physician. The most frequent source of the malady is in the dissipated and intemperate habits of those who. Perhaps the nature of this collision — between a disturbed imagination and organs of sense possessed of their usual accuracy — cannot be better described than in the embarrassment expressed by an insane patient confined in the Infirmary of Edinburgh. is one instance of actual insanity. and pervert the external form of objects. but that was owing to the benevolence of his nature. like Lord Peter's brethren in ” The Tale of a Tub. deluded in other. by a continued series of intoxication.” This dilemma could be no great wonder to the friend to whom the poor patient communicated it. in many constitutions. The difference I conceive to be that. while the senses. therefore. was his own. ” He was curious. The case was obvious. it is not the mind. who knew the lunatic eat nothing but this simple aliment at any of his meals. choice in his selection of cooks. in cases of insanity. contrary to that of the maniac. In their case. and may. With so many supposed comforts around him — with so many visions of wealth and splendour — one thing alone disturbed the peace of the poor optimist. in his idea. instances. be the means of bringing it oil. or organic system. The house.most horrible of maladies. or rather the imagination.” were indignant at the attempt to impose boiled oatmeal upon them. and he could not therefore be much in want of society. which present to the patient a set of spectres or appearances which have no actual existence.” he said.

resembling a band of figures dressed in green. where he was determined in future to spend his life. whom the patient's depraved imagination had so long associated with these moveables. Apparitions of the most unpleasant appearance are his companions in solitude. that the whole corps de ballet existed only in his own imagination. “ Here we all are — here we all are !” The visionary. as if the sufferer should have been rejoiced to see them. exclaiming with great glee. was so much shocked at their appearance. green. His physician. and grey. without exposing himself to the temptations of town. which destroy the tranquillity of the unhappy debauchee. and intrude even upon his hours of society: and when by an alteration of habits. The greens goblins had disappeared. than the former delusion returned in full force : the green figurantes . The patient observed the advice. in time disappear. He therefore prescribed a gentle course of medicine. to his great annoyance. on the same principle avoiding fatigue. the . but earnestly recommended to his patient to retire to his own house in the country. that he retired abroad. with all their trumpery. and prospered. if I recollect right. and assured him that by doing so he might bid adieu to black spirits and white. after the interval of a month. which derangement often sensibly affects the eyes and sense of sight. and with them the unpleasant train of emotions to which their visits had given rise. though he knew. Of this the following instance was told to the author by a gentleman connected with the sufferer. and that they may perhaps arise not only from the debility of stomach brought on by excess in wine or spirits. while the furniture was to be sent down to his residence in the country. The joyous visions suggested. blue. observe a temperate diet and early hours. One would have supposed this a well-devised scheme for health. There is reason to believe that such cases are numerous. came capering and frisking to accompany them. But. One of his principal complaints was the frequent presence of a set of apparitions. received a grateful letter from him. practising regular exercise. the former. and the patient had ordered his town-house to be disfurnished and sold. alas ! no sooner had the furniture of the London drawing-room been placed in order in the gallery of the old manor-house. it requires but the slightest renewal of the association to bring back the full tide of misery upon the repentant libertine. by intoxication when the habit is first acquired. at least. to which he was compelled to bear witness. acknowledging the success of his regimen. the mind is cleared of these frightful ideas. A young man of fortune.known to most who have lived for any period of their lives in society where hard drinking was a common vice. but also because the mind becomes habitually predominated over by a train of fantastic visions. who performed in his drawing-room a singular dance. and are supplied by frightful impressions and scenes. His physician immediately informed him that he had lived upon town too long and too fast not to require an exchange to a more healthy and natural course of life. who had led what is called so gay a life as considerably to injure both his health and fortune. was at length obliged to consult the physician upon the means of restoring. in despair that any part of Britain could shelter him from the daily persecution of this domestic ballet.

must expose those who practise the dangerous custom to the same inconvenience. faded. This persecution of spectral deceptions is also found to exist when no excesses of the patient can be alleged as the cause. the celebrated bookseller of Berlin. Ferriar of Manchester was the first who brought before the English public the leading case. in this department. Hibbert. of embodying before the eyes of a patient imaginary illusions which are visible to no one else. and did not in any other respect regard them as a subject of apprehension. Nicolai traces his illness remotely to a series of disagreeable incidents which had happened to him in the beginning of the year 1791. and produces a short but singular state of ecstasy. as it may be called. The depression of spirits which was occasioned by these unpleasant occurrences. as opium. that these singular effects were merely symptoms of the state of his health. and have ended fatally. but of letters. from having been. and others who have assumed Demonology as a subject. less vivid in their colouring. Ferriar. or it may be more properly said frequented. . been produced from the same identical cause. who visited. and is insisted on by Dr. doubtless. The learned and acute Dr. and the patient was possessed of too much firmness to be otherwise affected by their presence than with a species of curiosity. That such illnesses have been experienced. even when a different cause occasions the derangement. was aided by the consequences of neglecting a course of periodical bleeding which he had been accustomed to observe. and is thus. as it were. on all occasions. Dr. These phantoms afforded nothing unpleasant to the imagination of the visionary either in sight or expression. as it has been repeatedly before the public. After a certain time. to a deranged state of the blood or nervous system. by disease. and had the moral courage to lay before the Philosophical Society of Berlin an account of his own sufferings. The leading circumstances of this case may be stated very shortly. on the eye of the patient. But there are many other causes which medical men find attended with the same symptom. owing. Very frequent use of the nitrous oxide which affects the senses so strongly. that the symptom of importance to our present discussion has. though it is by no means to be inferred. This gentleman was not a man merely of books. the phantoms became less distinct in their outline. would probably be found to occasion this species of disorder.consequence of frequent intoxication. the apartments of the learned bookseller. namely. as he remained convinced from the beginning to the end of the disorder. and some use of medicine. that of Mons. The case of Nicolai has unquestionably been that of many whose love of science has not been able to overcome their natural reluctance to communicate to the public the particulars attending the visitation of a disease so peculiar. even spoke to and addressed him. apt again to go wrong. and at length totally disappeared. like a dislocated joint. It is easy to be supposed that habitual excitement by means of any other intoxicating drug. there can be no doubt. nay. presenting crowds of persons who moved and acted before him. or its various substitutes. This state of health brought on the disposition to see phantasmata . Nicolai. subjected to a series of spectral illusions.

I fall from my chair in a swoon. The narrative. she rushes upon me. as well as philosophically. tete-a-tete . made the following extraordinary statement of his complaint. may be held sufficiently descriptive of one character of the various kinds of disorder with which this painful symptom may be found allied. well known to be of the most varied and brilliant character. he said. it is understood. though inaccurate as a medical definition. and which. an old hag. having requested the doctor's advice. that he bad shrunk from communicating the circumstance to anyone.Dr. even when I have been weak enough to bolt it. who suspected some nervous disorder. The door of the room. was frequently related in society by the late learned and accomplished Dr. which I have sometimes done. was so singular.” — said the doctor. but is a frequent hectic symptom — often an associate of febrile and inflammatory disordersfrequently accompanying inflammation of the brain-a concomitant also of highly excited nervous irritability — equally connected with hypochondria — and finally united in some cases with gout. and in others with the effects of excitation produced by several gases.” The patient accepted the proposal with hope and gratitude. I will dine with you to-day. to keep the attention of his host engaged. “I am in the habit. and Dr. Gregory. The nature of the complaint. In all these cases there seems to be a morbid degree of sensibility. flies wide open. as in the case of the learned Prussian we have just mentioned. in particular. a person. They met at dinner. Hibbert has recorded of the spectral illusion with an actual disorder. and a precision of detail to which our superficial investigation affords us no room for extending ourselves. and that of a dangerous kind. and sometimes. it was so likely to be imputed to fancy. but so hastily that I cannot discover the purport. and he mentions. I believe. Hibbert. He was answered in the negative. And such is my new and singular complaint. which is of longer or shorter endurance. to the author's best recollection. Gregory. comes straight up to me with every demonstration of spite and indignation which could characterize her who haunted the merchant Abudah in the Oriental tale.” he said. and we will see if your malignant old woman will venture to join our company. with which this symptom is ready to ally itself. handled this subject. that the symptom occurs not only in plethora. Gregory of Edinburgh. was as follows: — A patient of Dr.” The doctor immediately asked whether his patient had invited any one to sit with him when he expected such a visitation. of some rank. A very singular and interesting illustration of such combinations as Dr. and then strikes me a severe blow with her staff. exerted his powers of conversation. has treated it also in a medical point of view. says something. “Then. and . enters with a frowning and incensed countenance. and exactly as the hour of six arrives I am subjected to the following painful visitation. “ of dining at five. “with your permission. The visitation of spectral phenomena is described by this learned gentleman as incidental to sundry complaints. or even to mental derangement. who has most ingeniously. quoted by him in his lectures. with science to which we make no pretence. for he had expected ridicule rather than sympathy. To the recurrence of this apparition I am daily subjected. like one of those who haunted the heath of Forres.

as well as his attainments in science and philosophy. had not spilled its contents when he returned to ordinary existence. The physician caused him to be let blood. in the way lie had himself described. whatever that may happen to be. though the jar of water which fell when his ecstasy commenced. and our fancy instantly conjures up a spectre to lie on our bosom. which the patient's morbid imagination may introduce into the dream preceding the swoon. or nightmare. or indeed any other external impression upon our organs in sleep. and it was hoped might pass away without any evil consequence. in the twinkling of an eye. A second. in an alarmed voice. in which he saw the whole wonders of heaven and hell. an explanatory system is adopted during sleep with such extreme rapidity. as to remind us of the vision of the prophet Mahommed. In like manner it may be remarked. Of the friend by whom the facts were attested I can only say. — is the dreamer wandering among supposed ruins. He succeeded in his purpose better than he bad hoped. as I understand. such as that with which fancy is found to supply the disorder called Ephialtes . The hour of six came almost unnoticed. the discharge of the combatants' pistols. It was the fortune of this gentleman to be called in to attend the illness of a person now long deceased. form an undisputed claim to the most implicit credit. — is an orator haranguing in his sleep. of a duel.prevent him from thinking on the approach of the fated hour. according to the previous train of ideas expressed in the dream. the sound becomes the applause of his supposed audience. the rank which he holds in his profession. even when scarce a moment of time is allowed for that purpose. which often placed the property of others at his discretion and control. that if I found myself at liberty to name him. is usually formed and perfect before the second effort of the speaker has restored the dreamer to the waking world and its realities. the external sound becomes. In short. and . and satisfied himself that the periodical shocks of which his patient complained arose from a tendency to apoplexy. the explanation. without being actually awakened by it — any casual touch of his person occurring in the same manner — becomes instantly adopted in his dream. but it was scarce a moment struck when the owner of the house exclaimed. and accommodated to the tenor of the current train of thought. The phantom with the crutch was only a species of machinery. to which he was accustomed to look forward with so much terror. and equally remarkable instance. So rapid and intuitive is the succession of ideas in sleep. that supposing the intruding alarm to have been the first call of some person to awaken the slumberer. for example. the noise is that of the fall of some part of the mass. high in a particular department of the law. was communicated to the author by the medical man under whose observation it fell. In dreaming. that any sudden noise which the slumberer hears. of course. though requiring some process of argument or deduction. who in his lifetime stood. and nothing is more remarkable than the rapidity with which imagination supplies a complete explanation of the interruption. “The hag comes again !” and dropped back in his chair in a swoon. In the nightmare an oppression and suffocation is felt. desirous to keep private the name of the hero of so singular a history. but who was.

good sense. yet occasionally attending to business. induced my friend to take other methods for prosecuting his inquiries. or depression of mind. more moved by this species of appeal than by any which had yet been urged. But slowness of pulse. or within that of medicine. which the patient was determined to conceal. sometimes to bed. confined principally to his sick-room. “ that my case is not a Singular . difficulty of digestion. So far as they knew — and they thought they could hardly be deceived — his worldly affairs were prosperous. appear anything in his conduct. at the time of my friend's visits. and constant depression of spirits. and urged to him the folly of devoting himself to a lingering and melancholy death. could your zeal and skill avail to rid me of it. to a superficial observer. He applied to the sufferer's family. of which those unacquainted with its powers never can form an estimate. be more conscious than I. “ that my skill may not equal my wish of serving you.” replied the patient. nor. he had for many years borne the character of a man of unusual steadiness. that could argue vacillation of intellect. He was. and manner in which it acts upon me. absence of appetite. and leaving a memory with which might be associated the idea of guilt. His outward symptoms of malady argued no acute or alarming disease. — . yet medical science has many resources. But until you plainly tell me your symptoms of complaint. and exerting his mind. I fear. to learn. bequeathing in this manner to his family a suspected and dishonoured name.” said the physician. apparently with all its usual strength and energy. seemed to draw their origin from some hidden cause. the source of that secret grief which was gnawing the heart and sucking the life-blood of his unfortunate patient. by suffering it to be inferred that the secret cause of his dejection and its consequences was something too scandalous or flagitious to be made known. to the conduct of important affairs intrusted to him. no entanglements of affection could be supposed to apply to his age. arid integrity. which the criminal had died without confessing. while so engaged. it is impossible for either of us to say what may or may not be in my power. being open to public observation. nor did there. but neither can you understand the nature of my complaint. that I am in the course of dying under the oppression of the fatal disease which consumes my vital powers. after conversing together previously. The deep gloom of the unfortunate gentleman — the embarrassment. The persons applied to. denied all knowledge of any cause for the burden which obviously affected their relative.” — ” It is possible.” — ” I may answer you. which he could not conceal from his friendly physician — the briefness and obvious constraint with which he answered the interrogations of his medical adviser. He specially pressed upon him the injury which he was doing to his own character. The patient. and the door of the sick-room made secure. rather than tell the subject of affliction which was thus wasting him. when he began his confession in the following manner : — “ You cannot. The medical gentleman had finally recourse to serious argument with the invalid himself. Every one else was removed. if you did.whose conduct. no family loss had occurred which could be followed with such persevering distress. and no sensation of severe remorse could be consistent with his character. expressed his desire to speak out frankly to Dr. my dear friend. therefore. if possible.

with bag and sword. .” answered the medical gentleman. To illustrate this. arrayed in a court dress. because he was overcome and heart-broken by its imaginary presence. or any other who bears on his brow the rank and stamp of delegated sovereignty.” said the sick man. This was no other than the apparition of a gentleman-usher. to the actual existence of which he gave no credit. and at sometimes appeared to mingle with the company. and I am sensible I am dying. who has been seen to change to all the colours of his own plaid if a cat by accident happened to be in the room with him. You remember. as if to announce me in the drawing-room.” The medical gentleman listened with anxiety to his patient's statement. even though he did not see it. But that modification of my disease also had its appointed duration.” — ” I. that my reason is totally inadequate to combat the effects of my morbid imagination. which had no existence save in my deranged visual organs or depraved imagination. and at first not of a terrible or even disagreeable character. ascended the stairs before me. which came and disappeared I could not exactly tell how. doubtless. that it had become almost indifferent to me. a spectre of a more important sort.one. the disease of which the Duke d'Olivarez is there stated to have died?” — “Of the idea. though it was sufficiently evident that they were not aware of his presence. a wasted victim to an imaginary disease. glided beside me like the ghost of Beau Nash. within the course of a few months. when I found myself from time to time embarrassed by the presence of a large cat. and. “ commenced two or three years since. and for the present judiciously avoiding any contradiction of the sick man's preconceived fancy. tamboured waistcoat. and I was compelled to regard it as no domestic household cat. and so painful and abhorrent is the presence of the persecuting vision. and chapeau-bras. he gave the following account of the progress of his disease: — “ My visions. dressed as if to wait upon a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. it gave place to. but as a bubble of the elements. and that I alone was sensible of the visionary honours which this imaginary being seemed desirous to render me. whether in my own house or in another. and endured with so much equanimity the presence of my imaginary attendant. This freak of the fancy did not produce much impression on me. or which at least had a more imposing appearance. I am rather a friend to cats. my dearest doctor.” he said. “ This personage. The sick person replied by stating that its advances were gradual. till the truth was finally forced upon me. as it seemed. and into the history of the mode by which so singular a disease had made itself master of his imagination. since we read of it in the famous novel of Le Sage. when. a Lord High Commissioner of the Kirk. against an attack so irregular. contented himself with more minute inquiry into the nature of the apparition with which be conceived himself haunted. or was succeeded by. On the contrary. secured. “ am in that very case. by strong powers of the understanding. though it led me to entertain doubts on the nature of my disorder and alarm for the effect it might produce on my intellects. but died. nevertheless. Still I had not that positive objection to the animal entertained by a late gallant Highland chieftain. “ that he was haunted by an apparition.

” said the doctor. so strongly into the field as might combat successfully the fantastic disorder which produced such fatal effects. with questions concerning the circumstances of the phantom's appearance.” answered the invalid. even while I yet breathe on the earth? Science. and I feel too surely that I shall die the victim to so melancholy a disease. he rose from his chair by the bedside. “ This skeleton. trusting he might lead him. and convince yourself of the illusion?” The poor man sighed.” Accordingly. He resorted to other means of investigation and cure. and fills the vacant space. “ Well. asked if the spectre was still visible? ” Not entirely so. But what avail such reflections. ” have you firmness to convince yourself of the truth of this? Can you take courage enough to rise and place yourself in the spot so seeming to be occupied. “ And in what part of the chamber do you now conceive the apparition to appear?” the physician inquired. and while I feel myself. from these details. being no other than the image of death itself — the apparition of a skeleton . how strongly this visionary apparition was fixed in the imagination of his patient. despite philosophy.” The physician was distressed to perceive. but merely an image summoned up by the morbid acuteness of my own excited imagination and deranged organs of sight. who was then in bed.” ” You say you are sensible of the delusion. indicated as the place occupied by the apparition. but with equally indifferent success. “ always to see it. has no cure for such a disorder. to my thinking. but I observe his skull peering above your shoulder. “ Immediately at the foot of my bed. then. .” ” Then I understand. with such minuteness. “ because your person is betwixt him and me.” answered the invalid. “ the presence of this last phantom never quits me. Alone or in company. but was succeeded by one horrible to the sight and distressing to the imagination. which seemed to be unimpaired. of the unfortunate persons who suffer under them.” continued the physician. into such contradictions and inconsistencies as might bring his common-sense. the companion of a phantom representing a ghastly inhabitant of the grave. When the curtains are left a little open. and shook his head negatively.” It is alleged the man of science started on the instant.” said the unfortunate invalid. The patient sunk into deeper and deeper dejection.” said his friend. “ the skeleton. He ingeniously urged the sick man. even religion. and his case remains a melancholy instance of the power of imagination to kill the body.” said the doctor. although I have no belief whatever in the reality of the phantom which it places before me. even when its fantastic terrors cannot overcome the intellect. “ it is now present to your imagination?” ” To my imagination it certainly is so. “ we will try the experiment otherwise. that the ideal spectre was close to his own person.” replied the sick man. I in vain tell myself a hundred times over that it is no reality. is placed between them. “ seems to you to be always present to your eyes?” ” It is my fate. as a sensible man. though in fancy only.” replied the patient. and died in the same distress of mind in which he had spent the latter months of his life. philosophy.After a few months the phantom of the gentleman-usher was seen no more. and placing himself between the two half-drawn curtains at the foot of the bed. on receiving an answer ascertaining. while the emblem at once and presage of mortality is before my eyes. unhappily.

there can. Having added these two remarkable instances to the general train of similar facts quoted by Ferriar. I have seen too many myself. in the present case. when they occur to men of strength of mind and of education. really see the empty and false forms and hear the ideal sounds which. Gleditsch. has not taken time or trouble to correct his first impressions. give way to scrutiny. madam. men. But in ignorant times those instances in which any object is misrepresented. may occupy. be little doubt of the proposition. simple. Gleditsch being obliged to traverse the . the true takes the place of the unreal representation. he did not. and respected as a man of an habitually serious. who. was a botanist of eminence. or the combined influence of both. The first shall be the apparition of Maupertuis to a brother professor in the Royal Society of Berlin. A short time after the death of Maupertuis. to which no doubt can be attached. Hibbert. to whom the circumstance happened. from various causes. sunk under his malady. and who must engage himself in the difficult and delicate task of examining and correcting. become so much deranged as to make false representations to the mind. the vision of men who are otherwise perfectly clear-sighted. the probability of the reports which are too inconsistent to be trusted to.” It is necessary to premise that M. in the literal sense. a proof the more difficult to be disputed if the phantom has been personally witnessed by a man of sense and estimation. presented the subject of our last tale with the successive apparitions of his cat. Thiebault in his ” Recollections of Frederick the Great and the Court of Berlin. in such cases. But there is a corollary to this proposition. but is thus stated by M. whether through the action of the senses.” I may mention one or two instances of the kind. The same species of organic derangement which. that the external organs may. we think. by his death and last illness. and their character being once investigated. and the circumstances of his singular disorder remaining concealed.* M. as a continued habit of his deranged vision. lose any of his well-merited reputation for prudence and sagacity which had attended him during the whole course of his life. and other writers who have more recently considered the subject. or of the imagination. in a more primitive state of society. may be admitted as direct evidence of a supernatural apparition.The patient. his gentleman-usher. for a brief or almost momentary space. This species of deception is so frequent that one of the greatest poets of the present time answered a lady who asked him if he believed in ghosts: — ” No. and tranquil character. Transitory deceptions are thus presented to the organs which. and the fatal skeleton. and that. This extraordinary circumstance appeared in the Transactions of the Society. are naturally enough referred to the action of demons or disembodied spirits. In such unhappy cases the patient is intellectually in the condition of a general whose spies have been bribed by the enemy. by his own powers of argument. perhaps satisfied in the general as to the actual existence of apparitions. for however short a space of time. holding the professorship of natural philosophy at Berlin. which is worthy of notice.

but received no answer — the eyes alone were impressed by the appearance. without stopping longer than to ascertain exactly the appearance of that object. and being willing to complete them on the Thursday before the meeting. once the scene of his triumphs — overwhelmed by the petulant ridicule of Voltaire. After the King's death he came over to England. the apparition of M. These occupied him till the hour of retiring to bed. with whom to be ridiculous was to be worthless — we can hardly wonder at the imagination even of a man of physical science calling up his Eidolon in the hall of his former greatness. in his hour of adversity at least. but bred in the Irish Brigade. from whose mouth a particular friend of the author received the following circumstances of a similar story. Captain C — — was a Catholic. which he displayed in some uncommonly desperate adventures during the first years of the French Revolution. which was under his charge. Captain C — — was a native of Britain. The sober-minded professor did not. His confessor was a clergyman who was residing as chaplain to a man of rank in the west of England. he . about four miles from the place where Captain C — — lived. beyond question. push his investigation to the point to which it was carried by a gallant soldier. in the first angle on his left hand. on entering the hall. and out of favour with Frederick. which appeared to retreat gradually before him. had his friend died about the same time. he saw in the room the figure of the absent confessor. and it was then the following circumstance took place. that the whole was illusion. who had died at Bâle. In this manner he followed it round the bed. He was a man of the most dauntless courage. being repeatedly employed by the royal family in very dangerous commissions. afternoon. ascertaining thus. having some arrangements to make in the cabinet of natural history. and remain there in a sitting posture. having his eyes fixed on him. When it is recollected that Maupertuis died at a distance from Berlin. the soldier himself sate down on the same chair. and the feeling brought back upon him many other painful and disagreeable recollections. upright and stationary. in the family of Messrs. But be related the vision to his brethren. and. M. He addressed it. He retired in great distress and apprehension of his friend's life. He regarded the apparition in no other light than as a phantom produced by some derangement of his own proper organs. Gleditsch went to his own business. On riding over one morning to see this gentleman. his penitent had the misfortune to find him very ill from a dangerous complaint. This was about three o'clock.hall in which the Academy held its sittings. could have found his way back to Berlin in person. de Maupertuis. The professor of natural philosophy was too well acquainted with physical science to suppose that his late president. Bernoulhe. when it seemed to sink down on an elbow-chair. he perceived. however. Captain C — — advanced on the phantom. yet he owned that. sincerely attached to the duties of his religion. when. and assured them that it was as defined and perfect as the actual person of Maupertuis could have presented. to his great astonishment. Determined to push the matter to the end. To ascertain positively the nature of the apparition.

whose excited state had been the means of raising it. as being of short duration. Johnson's phrase. they are almost certain to be considered as real supernatural appearances. and passing into this hall. and in a standing posture. a literary friend. which a sudden and temporary fever-fit has to a serious feverish illness. with all his power. They bear to the former the analogy. as we may say. plaids. that the individual of whom I speak saw. and tell his young friend under what a striking hallucination he had for a moment laboured. it is more difficult to bring such momentary impressions back to their real sphere of optical illusions. to recall the image which had been so singularly vivid. and. in perusing one of the publications which professed to detail the habits and opinions of the distinguished individual who was now no more. through which the moon was beginning to shine. while living.” the incident was only remarkable as showing that men of the strongest nerves are not exempted from such delusions. These were merely a screen. It was when laying down his book.would not well have known what name to give to his vision. a great station in the eye of the public. of the delusion. The spectator returned to the spot from which he had seen the illusion. to whom the deceased had been well known. and the like. shawls. the exact representation of his departed friend. skins of wild animals. occupied by great-coats. are of the latter character. even for this very reason. into the various materials of which it was composed. But. which contained some particulars relating to himself and other friends. that of the Catholic clergyman to Captain C — — . which resolved itself. But as the confessor recovered. The apparition of Maupertuis to Monsieur Gleditsch. and others formerly noticed. that of a late poet to his friend. and endeavoured. Sensible. he felt no sentiment save that of wonder at the extraordinary accuracy of the resemblance. A visitor was sitting in the apartment. They differ from those of Nicolai. so as to notice the wonderful accuracy with which fancy had impressed upon the bodily eye the peculiarities of dress and posture of the illustrious poet. As the reader had enjoyed the intimacy of the deceased to a considerable degree. had only to return into the apartment. during the darkening twilight of an autumn evening. who was also engaged in reading. “ nothing came of it. He stopped for a single moment. in Dr. we do not give the names of the parties. But this was beyond his capacity. and when such occur in an early period of society. he was deeply interested in the publication. and such other articles as usually are found in a country entrance-hall. for certain reasons. as he approached. and constituting no habitual or constitutional derangement of the system. or. Another illusion of the same nature we have the best reason for vouching as a fact. right before him. since they accord much better with our idea of . Their sitting-room opened into an entrance-hall. was engaged. whose recollection had been so strongly brought to his imagination. There is every reason to believe that instances of this kind are frequent among persons of a certain temperament. Not long after the death of a late illustrious poet. and the person who had witnessed the apparition. however. who had filled. though. and stepped onwards towards the figure. more properly. rather fantastically fitted up with articles of armour.

as the sight itself. Amidst the train of superstitions deduced from the imperfections of the ear. and that when the visual organ becomes depraved for a greater or less time. days. which mislead. we must remark that the eye is the organ most essential to the purpose of realizing to our mind the appearance of external objects. that Dr. wastes away and dies. in their various departments. the party to whom they are addressed. where there existed no man but the shipwrecked mariner himself. On shores. A whole class of superstitious observances arise. he heard the voice of his mother. in such cases. The following may he stated as one . that we do not sympathize more readily with Robinson Crusoe's apprehensions when he witnesses the print of the savage's foot in the sand. Thus. instead of informing. as one doomed to do so. Before concluding these observations upon the deceptions of the senses. relative was. or probably some deceased. To the excited and imperfect state of the ear we owe the existence of what Milton sublimely calls — The airy tongues that syllable men's names. and at others it was no uncommon circumstance that the person who fancied himself so called. while he was opening the door of his college chambers. It is unnecessary to dwell on this sort of auricular deception. from other circumstances. and wildernesses. that the symptom originates in deranged health. died in consequence. and months. in desert sands. we may quote that visionary summons which the natives of the Hebrides acknowledged as one sure sign of approaching fate. devoting him to the infernal gods. whose name is put into the famous cursing well. heard as repeating the party's name. of which most men's recollection will supply instances. in their turn. its misrepresentation of the objects of sight is peculiarly apt to terminate in such hallucinations as those we have been detailing. we are repeatedly deceived by such sounds as are imperfectly gathered up and erroneously apprehended. Yet the other senses or organs. and to a farther or more limited extent. call him by his name. in regard to the ear. — for the same reason that the negro pines to death who is laid under the ban of an Obi woman. Sometimes the aerial summoner intimated his own death. The voice of some absent. and are grounded upon inaccurate and imperfect hearing. These also appear such natural causes of alarm. to retain false or doubtful impressions. Johnson retained a deep impression that. affording opportunities of discovering. It may be remarked also. then at many miles' distance. and it appears he was rather disappointed that no event of consequence followed a summons sounding so decidedly supernatural. are as ready. the next organ in importance to the eye. than in those which arise from his being waked from sleep by some one calling his name in the solitary island.glimpses of the future world than those in which the vision is continued or repeated for hours. with the usual ceremonies. and to the extent of their power. or the Cambro-Briton. From the false impressions received from this organ also arise consequences similar to those derived from erroneous reports made by the organs of sight.

The supposed distant sound was in fact a nigh one. and the herdsman's ears Tingle with inward dread. the cause of the phenomenon became apparent. on a moment's reflection.”* It must also be remembered. about two years since. the air Labours with louder shouts and rifer din Of close pursuit. Nor knows. of which two or three were with the walking party. and. in a wild and solitary scene with a young friend. To what or whom he owes his idle fear — To ghost. to witch. o'erawed and trembling as he stands. are but too ready to convey. voice of hunters. so that he could not help saying to his companion. to fairy. Aghast he eyes The upland ridge. He called upon his own dogs. or to fiend.serving to show by what slender accidents the human ear may be imposed upon. being the singing of the Wind in the instrument which the young gentleman was obliged to use. Forthwith the hubbub multiplies. satisfied the hearer that it could not be the clamour of an actual chase. and obviously had no accession to the sounds which had caught the author's attention. Beginning faint. that to the auricular deceptions practised by the means of ventriloquism or otherwise. and yet his ears repeatedly brought back the supposed cry. this. the broken cry of deer Mangled by throttling dogs. and of hounds. that the highly imaginative superstition of the Wild Huntsman in Germany seems to have had its origin in strong fancy. “ I am doubly sorry for your infirmity at this moment. of the most successful impostures which credulity has received as supernatural communications. the shouts of men. The author was walking.” As the young gentleman used a hearing tube. They came in quietly. Yet there is one circumstance in which the Sense of touch as . But wonders. nor are there many cases in which it can become accessary to such false intelligence as the eye and ear. blowing far and keen. And louder. in doing so. sounding intermittedly. and every mountain round. collecting their objects from a greater distance and by less accurate enquiry. but rising still more loud. And hoofs. so finely embodied by the nameless author of ” Albania:” — ” There. It is scarce necessary to add. respecting the numerous sounds likely to occur in the dark recesses of pathless forests. who laboured under the infirmity of a severe deafness. with clans and ready vassals thronged. As the season was summer. And horns hoarse-winded. The sense of touch seems less liable to perversion than either that of sight or smell. since of old the haughty Thanes of Ross Were wont. had never occurred to his elder friend as likely to produce the sounds he had heard. from various circumstances. thickbeating on the hollow hill: Sudden the grazing heifer in the vale Starts at the tumult. he turned when spoken to. when he heard what he conceived to be the cry of a distant pack of hounds. may be traced many. There oft is heard at midnight or at noon. The same clew may be found to the kindred Scottish belief. But not one trace of living wight discerns. To wake the bounding stag or guilty wolf. for I could otherwise have let you hear the cry of the Wild Huntsman. operating upon the auricular deceptions. and no end of wondering finds. but which.

while. when the dreamer touches with his hand some other part of his own person. — that is. in the gay visions which gilded the patient's confinement. in reality. He is clearly. but is diffused over the whole person of the man. and endeavoured to drag him out of bed. would afford a clew to many puzzling phenomena in the theory of dreams. The delusions of the stomach can seldom bear upon our present subject. to increase the complication. We have seen the palate. The best and most acute bon vivant loses his power of discriminating betwixt different kinds of wine. which. convey more direct intelligence than the eye and the ear. both the actor and patient. ipse Tute tibi partem ferias. the draught they had swallowed as such was of an innoxious or restorative quality. if he is prevented from assisting his palate by the aid of his eyes. and with it he had accidentally encircled his right arm. The palate. Now. which at one and the same time receives an impression from the band. and conveys to the mind a report respecting the size. and are less likely than those senses to aid in misleading the imagination. his mind is apt to be much disturbed by the complication of sensations arising from two parts of his person being at once acted upon. quam vis jam corporis. like the touch. however. Wi' usquebae we'll face the devil. Nay. in respect to the circumstances which it impresses on its owner. if the glasses of each are administered indiscriminately while he is blindfolded. At length they were all summed up in the apprehension that the phantom of a dead man held the sleeper by the wrist. is noticed by Lucretius: — ” Ut si forte mana. we are authorized to believe that individuals have died in consequence of having supposed themselves to have taken poison. It was a minute before he discovered that his own left hand was in a state of numbness. and receives an impression of touch from it. and the same is the case with the limb. and false impressions are thus received.” A remarkable instance of such an illusion was told me by a late nobleman. and of that which is touched. in the case of the porridge-fed lunatic. as also that it is confined to no particular organ. with some uneasy feelings arising from indigestion. enter its protest against the acquiescence of eyes. as during sleep the patient is unconscious that both limbs are his own identical property. The case occurs during sleep. who is fittest to encounter them when the poet's observation is not unlikely to apply — ” Inspiring bauld John Barleycorn. in this case. They operated in their usual course of visionary terrors. when. The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's . of the member touching. He awaked in horror. and from their reciprocal action. both the proprietor of the member touching. and the like. and still felt the cold dead grasp of a corpse's hand on his right wrist. is subject to imposition as well as the other senses. substance. than as a good dinner and its accompaniments are essential in fitting out a daring Tam of Shanter. What dangers thou canst make us scorn! Wi' tippenny we fear nae evil. ears. the hand is both toucher of the limb on which it rests. He had fallen asleep. æque experiare. accurately enquired into. and are not otherwise connected with supernatural appearances. The taste and the smell.well as others is very apt to betray its possessor into inaccuracy. and touch. This peculiarity of the organ of touch.

noddle, Fair play, he caredna deils a bodle!” Neither has the sense of smell, in its ordinary state, much connexion with our present subject. Mr. Aubrey tells us, indeed, of an apparition which disappeared with a curious perfume as well as a most melodious twang; and popular belief ascribes to the presence of infernal spirits a strong relish of the sulphureous element of which they are inhabitants. Such accompaniments, therefore, are usually united with other materials for imposture. If, as a general opinion assures us, which is not positively discountenanced 'by Dr. Hibbert, by the inhalation of certain gases or poisonous “herbs, necromancers can dispose a person to believe he sees phantoms, it is likely that the nostrils are made to inhale such suffumigation as well as the mouth. * I have now arrived, by a devious path, at the conclusion of this letter, the object of which is to show from what attributes of our nature, whether mental or corporeal, arises that predisposition to believe in supernatural occurrences. It is, I think, conclusive that mankind, from a very early period, have their minds prepared for such events by the consciousness of the existence of a spiritual world, inferring in the general proposition the undeniable truth that each man, from the monarch to the beggar, who has once acted his part on the stage, continues to exist, and may again, even in a disembodied state, if such is the pleasure of Heaven, for aught that we know to the contrary, be permitted or ordained to mingle amongst those who yet remain in the body. The abstract possibility of apparitions must be admitted by every one who believes in a Deity, and His superintending omnipotence. But imagination is apt to intrude its explanations and inferences founded on inadequate evidence. Sometimes our violent and inordinate passions, originating in sorrow for our friends, remorse for our crimes, our eagerness of patriotism, or our deep sense of devotion — these or other violent excitements of a moral character, in the visions of night, or the rapt ecstasy of the day, persuade us that we witness, with our eyes and ears, an actual instance of that supernatural communication, the possibility of which cannot be denied. At other times the corporeal organs impose upon the mind, while the eye and the ear, diseased, deranged, or misled, convey false impressions to the patient. Very often both the mental delusion and the physical deception exist at the same time, and men's belief of the phenomena presented to them, however erroneously, by the senses, is the firmer and more readily granted, that the physical impression corresponded with the mental excitement. So many causes acting thus upon each other in various degrees, or sometimes separately, it must happen early in the infancy of every society that there should occur many apparently well-authenticated instances of supernatural intercourse, satisfactory enough to authenticate peculiar examples of the general proposition which is impressed upon us by belief of the immortality of the soul. These examples of undeniable apparitions (for they are apprehended to be incontrovertible), fall like the seed of the husbandman into fertile and prepared soil, and are usually followed by a plentiful crop of superstitious

figments, which derive their sources from circumstances and enactments in sacred and profane history, hastily adopted, and perverted from their genuine reading. This shall be the subject of my next letter. * Walker's “Lives,” Edinburgh, 1827, vol. i. p. xxxvi. It is evident that honest Peter believed in the apparition of this martial gear on the principle of Partridge's terror for the ghost of Hamlet — not that lie was afraid himself, but because Garrick showed such evident marks of terror. * Long the president of the Berlin Academy, and much favoured by Frederick II., till be was overwhelmed by the ridicule of Voltaire. He retired, in a species of disgrace, to his native country of Switzerland, and died there shortly afterwards. * The poem of “Albania” is, in its original folio edition, so extremely scarce that I have only seen a copy belonging to the amiable and ingenious Dr. Beattie, besides the one which I myself possess, printed in the earlier part of last century. It was reprinted by my late friend Dr. Leyden in a small volume entitled ” Scottish Descriptive Poems.” ” Albania” contains the above, and many other poetical passages of the highest merit. * Most ancient authors, who pretend to treat of the wonders of natural magic, give receipts for calling up phantoms. The lighting lamps fed by peculiar kinds of medicated oil, and the use of suffumigations, of strong and deleterious herbs, are the means recommended. From these authorities, perhaps, a professor of legerdemain assured Dr. Alderson of Hull, that he could compose a preparation of antimony, sulphur, and other drugs, which, when burnt in a confined room, would have the effect of causing the patient to suppose he saw phantoms. — See “ Hibbert on Apparitions,” p. 120. LETTER II. Consequences of the Fall on the Communication between Man and the Spiritual World — Effects of the Flood — Wizards of Pharaoh — Text in Exodus against Witches — The word Witch is by some said to mean merely Poisoner — Or if in the Holy Text it also means a Divineress, she must, at any rate, have been a Character very different to be identified with it — The original, Chasaph, said to mean a person who dealt in Poisons, often a Traffic of those who dealt with familiar Spirits — But different from the European Witch of the Middle Ages — Thus a Witch is not accessary to the Temptation of Job — The Witch of the Hebrews probably did not rank higher than a Divining Woman — Yet it was a Crime deserving the Doom of Death, since it inferred the disowning of Jehovah's Supremacy — Other Texts of Scripture, in like manner, refer to something corresponding more with a Fortune-teller or Divining Woman than what is now called a Witch — Example of the Witch of Endor — Account of her Meeting with Saul — Supposed by some a mere Impostor — By others, a Sorceress powerful enough to raise the Spirit of the Prophet by her own Art — Difficulties attending both Positions — A middle Course adopted, supposing that, as in the Case of Balak, the Almighty had, by Exertion of His Will, substituted Samuel, or a good Spirit in his Character, for

the Deception which the Witch intended to produce — Resumption of the Argument, showing that the Witch of Endor signified something very different from the modern Ideas of Witchcraft — The Witches mentioned in the New Testament are not less different from modern Ideas than those of the Books of Moses, nor do they appear to have possessed the Power ascribed to Magicians — Articles of Faith which we may gather from Scripture on this point — That there might be certain Powers permitted by the Almighty to Inferior, and even Evil Spirits, is possible; and in some sense the Gods of the Heathens might be accounted Demons — More frequently, and in a general sense, they were but logs of wood, without sense or power of any kind, and their worship founded on imposture — Opinion that the Oracles were silenced at the Nativity adopted by Milton Cases of Demoniacs — The Incarnate Possessions probably ceased at the same time as the intervention of Miracles — Opinion of the Catholics — Result, that witchcraft, as the Word is interpreted in the Middle Ages, neither occurs under the Mosaic or Gospel Dispensation — It arose in the Ignorant Period, when the Christians considered the Gods of the Mahommedan or Heathen Nations as Fiends, and their Priests as Conjurers or Wizards — Instance as to the Saracens, and among the Northern Europeans yet unconverted — The Gods of Mexico and Peru explained on the same system — Also the Powahs of North America — Opinion of Mather — Gibb, a supposed Warlock, persecuted by the other Dissenters — Conclusion. WHAT degree of communication might have existed between the human race and the inhabitants of the other world had our first parents kept the commands of the Creator, can only be subject of unavailing speculation. We do not, perhaps, presume too much when we suppose, with Milton, that one necessary consequence of eating the ” fruit of that forbidden tree” was removing to a wider distance from celestial essences the beings who, although originally but a little lower than the angels, had, by their own crime, forfeited the gift of immortality, and degraded themselves into an inferior rank of creation. Some communication between the spiritual world, by the union of those termed in Scripture ” sons of God” and the daughters of Adam, still continued after the Fall, though their inter-alliance was not approved of by the Ruler of mankind. We are given to understand — darkly, indeed, but with as much certainty as we can be entitled to require — that the mixture between the two species of created beings was sinful on the part of both, and displeasing to the Almighty. It is probable, also, that the extreme longevity of the antediluvian mortals prevented their feeling sufficiently that they had brought themselves under the banner of Azrael, the angel of death, and removed to too great a distance the period between their crime and its punishment. The date of the avenging Flood gave birth to a race whose life was gradually shortened, and who, being admitted to slighter and rarer intimacy with beings who possessed a higher rank in creation,

or was visited with any open marks of Divine displeasure. to pursue the work of replenishing the world. which had been imposed upon them as an end of their creation. were very apt to eke out their capacity of mischief by the use of actual poison. or similar mystical means. was announced a text. and are given to understand that mankind. in the face of the prince and people. or that. separated from each other. and was abrogated. although their skill and power might be safely despised. it made part of the judicial Mosaic dispensation. has occasioned much cruelty and bloodshed. for evil purposes. either from its tenor being misunderstood. after this period we hear no more of those unnatural alliances which preceded the Flood. whether obtained by supernatural communications. King of Egypt. Accordingly. In this particular the witches of Scripture had probably some resemblance to those of ancient Europe. as of course. a lower position in the scale. dispersing into different parts of the world. which.assumed. as interpreted literally. in various places. the prophets of the God of Israel. In the meantime. changed their rods into serpents. dictated by the Divinity himself. either by noxious potions. by the more benign and clement dispensation of the Gospel. This is known to have been the case in many of those darker iniquities which bear as their characteristic something connected with hidden and prohibited arts. The matter must remain uncertain whether it was by sorcery or legerdemain that the wizards of Pharaoh. being exclusively calculated for the Israelites. and may be understood as denoting a person who pretended to hurt his or her neighbours in life. so that the epithet of sorceress and poisoner were almost synonymous. by which it is rendered in the Latin version of the Septuagint. however. contended with Moses. and who can doubt that — though we may be left in some darkness both respecting the extent of their skill and the source from which it was drawn — we are told all which it can be important for us to know? We arrive here at the period when the Almighty chose to take upon himself directly to legislate for his chosen people. and under separate auspices. we are made to understand that wicked men — it may be by the assistance of fallen angels — were enabled to assert rank with. were openly exhibited. by charms. limb. like the greater part of that law. while the Deity was pleased to continue his manifestations to those who were destined to be the fathers of his elect people. having been inserted into the criminal code of all Christian nations. or goods. and attempt to match. without having obtained any accurate knowledge whether the crime of witchcraft. “ men shall not suffer a witch to live. as long as they confined themselves to their charms and spells. who. The text alluded to is that verse of the twenty-second chapter of Exodus bearing. . Those powers of the Magi. and began. or arising from knowledge of legerdemain and its kindred accomplishments. although.” Many learned men have affirmed that in this remarkable passage the Hebrew word CHASAPH means nothing more than poisoner. like the word veneficus . or the intercourse between the spiritual world and embodied beings. and imitated several of the plagues denounced against the devoted kingdom. other learned men contend that it hath the meaning of a witch also. But in the law of Moses. either existed after the Flood.

and charms would have been introduced. in what respect. we must reflect that the object of the Mosaic dispensation being to preserve the knowledge of the True Deity within the breasts of a selected and separated people. invocations.Such was the statement in the indictment of those concerned in the famous murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. did such a crime deserve the severe punishment of death? To answer this question. was. whether idols or evil spirits. but because they were guilty of apostasy from the real Deity. or such means as might be innoxious. had the scene occurred after the manner of the like events in latter days. while they worshipped. how far metaphorically. not on account of any success which they might obtain by their intercessions and invocations (which. At least there is not a word in Scripture authorizing us to believe that such a system existed. and encouraged others to worship. or she who communicated. to the extent of praying to senseless stocks and stones. straying from the path of direct worship of Jehovah. In like manner. proved so utterly unavailing as to incur the ridicule of the prophet). Thus the prophets of Baal were deservedly put to death. with an evil spirit. by the Jewish law. an act of rebellion to their own Lord God. that he might sift him like wheat. no revellings of Satan and his nags. the God of Jacob necessarily showed himself a jealous God to all who. the false divinity Baal. practice by poison was at length successfully resorted to. But supposing that the Hebrew witch proceeded only by charms. witchcraft. Satan desired to have Peter. may it be said. and as such most fit to be punished capitally. would have employed his servant the witch as the necessary instrument of the Man of Uzz's afflictions. to the extent of cutting and wounding themselves. when the Enemy of mankind desired to probe the virtue of Job to the bottom. though enhanced with all their vehemence. was justly punished with death. 31” Supposing the powers of the witch to be limited. and numerous similar instances might be quoted. the gods of the neighbouring heathen. The swerving from their allegiance to the true Divinity. to enquiries at some pretended deity or real evil spirit concerning future events. On the contrary. sorceries. save for the assistance of demons or familiars. which could return them no answer. or be of a nature much less intimate than has been . and no infliction of disease or misfortune upon good men. The Hebrew witch. had recourse to other deities. In all this. But neither is there here the agency of any sorcerer or witch. from that which was conceived in latter days to constitute witchcraft. therefore. the connexion between the conjurer and the demon must have been of a very different character under the law of Moses. instead of his own permitted agency. we are told (how far literally. it is not for us to determine) that. when the arts of Forman and other sorcerers having been found insufficient to touch the victim's life. There was no contract of subjection to a diabolic Power. or attempted to communicate. for the more brilliant exhibition of the faith which he reposed in his Maker. in the time of Moses. though her communication with the spiritual world might either not exist at all. he applied for permission to the Supreme Governor of the world. who granted him liberty to try his faithful servant with a storm of disasters. and the Devil. no infernal stamp or sign of such a fatal league. Luke xxii.

To understand the texts otherwise seems to confound the modern system of witchcraft. or an observer of times. who had previously communicated with him through his prophets. he did not himself see). Scripture proceeds to give us the general information that the king directed the witch to call up the Spirit of Samuel. 11 — ” There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire. the practices of those persons termed witches in the Holy Scriptures are again alluded to. which. The Scriptures seem only to have conveyed to us the general fact (being what is chiefly edifying) of the interview between the witch and the King of Israel. and that the female exclaimed that gods had arisen out of the earth — that Saul. despairing of obtaining an answer from the offended Deity.” Similar denunciations occur in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of Leviticus. but surely a venial sin in an ignorant and deluded pagan. and judgments. or a charmer. or a consulter with familiar spirits. notwithstanding repeated prohibitions. by which course he involved himself in the crime of the person whom he thus consulted. the severity of similar enactments subsequent to the Christian revelation. and asking counsel of false deities. who enjoyed such peculiar manifestations of the Almighty's presence. by the way. nor does the existence of this law. against the witches of the Old Testament sanction. to go to a divining woman. the only detailed and particular account of such a transaction which is to be found in the Bible. These passages seem to concur with the former. or an enchanter. or a wizard. more particularly requiring a description of the apparition (whom. examples. in his desperation. those who have written on this subject have naturally dwelt upon the interview between Saul and the Witch of Endor. or that useth divination. in order to obtain responses by the superstitious practices of the pagan nations around them. was still the prevailing crime of the Israelites. in any respect. They inform us that Saul. The passage alluded to is in Deuteronomy xviii. with all its unnatural and improbable outrages on common sense. and again it is made manifest that the sorcery or witchcraft of the Old Testament resolves itself into a trafficking with idols. and the consciousness of his own unworthy and ungrateful disobedience. or a witch. In another passage. that he caused his children to pass through the fire. used enchantments and witchcraft. against a different class of persons. which proves that the crime of witchcraft (capitally punished as it was when discovered) was not frequent among the chosen people. consequently. observed times. in other words. a fact. In like manner. in classing witchcraft among other desertions of the prophets of the Deity. consulted the oracle of Apollo — a capital offence in a Jew. or a necromancer. To illustrate the nature of the Hebrew witch and her prohibited criminal traffic.). against whom the law denounced death — a sentence which had been often executed by Saul himself on similar offenders. at length resolved. accused of a very different species of crime. into idolatry. with the crime of the person who. in classical days. disheartened and discouraged by the general defection of his subjects. and dealt with familiar spirits and with wizards.ascribed to the witches of later days. it is a charge against Manasses (2 Chronicles xxxviii. 10. she .

taking their chance to prophesy the defeat and death of the broken-spirited king as an event which the circumstances in which he was placed rendered highly probable. to know with certainty whether Saul was present when the woman used her conjuration. this second solution of the story supposes that the will of the Almighty substituted.described it as the figure of an old man with a mantle. as it intimated. upon whom the Spirit of the Lord was wont to descend. in which case we must suppose that the woman really expected or hoped to call up some supernatural appearance. unpleasing. it remains equally uncertain what was its nature or by what power it was compelled to an appearance. for instance. It is impossible. In this figure the king acknowledges the resemblance of Samuel. the messenger of the . is yet liable to others. though all is told which is necessary to convey to us an awful moral lesson. like the Erictho of the heathen poet. the melancholy prediction of his own defeat and death. or whether the Pythoness and her assistant meant to practise a mere deception. even while he was clothed with frail mortality. and especially that of a prophet so important as Samuel. speaking in the character of the prophet. On the other band. which. should be subject to be disquieted in his grave at the voice of a vile witch. the spirit of Samuel in his earthly resemblance — or. and the command of an apostate prince? Did the true Deity refuse Saul the response of his prophets. if the reader may think this more likely. But in either case. Or we may conceive that in those days. In this description. the divining woman of Endor was preparing to practise upon Saul those tricks of legerdemain or jugglery by which she imposed upon meaner clients who resorted to her oracle. some good being. admitting that the apparition had really a supernatural character. she could disturb the sleep of the just. when the laws of Nature were frequently suspended by manifestations of the Divine Power. and are we to suppose that he. on that memorable occasion. and sinking on his face. freed from some of the objections which attend the two extreme suppositions. hears from the apparition. It has been supposed that something took place upon this remarkable occasion similar to that which disturbed the preconcerted purpose of the prophet Balaam. yet we are left ignorant of the minutiæ attending the apparition. According to this hypothesis. and his character as a soldier rendered it likely that he would not survive a defeat which must involve the loss of his kingdom. and could a witch compel the actual spirit of Samuel to make answer notwithstanding? Embarrassed by such difficulties. It is left still more doubtful whether anything supernatural was actually evoked. some degree of juggling might be permitted between mortals and the spirits of lesser note. which perhaps we ought to accept as a sure sign that there was no utility in our being made acquainted with them. since the supposed spirit of Samuel asks wherefore he was disquieted in the grave. for the phantasmagoria intended by the witch. and compelled him to exchange his premeditated curses for blessings. another course of explanation has been resorted to. since he was surrounded by a superior army of Philistines. Was the power of the witch over the invisible world so great that. or whether he himself personally ever saw the appearance which the Pythoness described to him.

wear no stronger sense of complaint than might become the spirit of a just man made perfect. denounced punishment. could be supposed to complain of an apparition which took place in obedience to the direct command of the Deity. But her existence and her crimes can go no length to prove the possibility that another class of witches. had withdrawn the prophet for a space from the enjoyment and repose of Heaven. it so far appears clear that the Witch of Endor. to whom. for a deep tragedy. under the Jewish dispensation. and furnishing an awful lesson to future times. which were the ultimate cause of Samuel's appearance. he obtained the awful certainty of his own defeat and death. It does not apply so well to the complaint of Samuel that he was disquieted. however. a text occurs indicating the existence of a system of witchcraft. since it is said of this man of God. in some way or other. in despair of all aid or answer from the Almighty. exchanged the juggling farce of sheer deceit or petty sorcery which she had intended to produce. destroy human lives. capable of appalling the heart of the hardened tyrant. since neither the prophet. and waste the fruits of the earth. in any respect similar to that against which the law-books of so many European nations have. Whatever may be thought of other occasional expressions in the Old Testament. are nevertheless to be proved possible before they can be received as a criminal charge. not as a murmuring against the pleasure of Providence. was not a being such as those believed in by our ancestors. and showed the king his latter end. in the likeness of the departed prophet — and. it cannot be said that. guilt. Leaving the further discussion of this dark and difficult question to those whose studies have qualified them to give judgment on so obscure a subject. however odious. It may be observed that in Ecclesiasticus (xlvi. This exposition has the advantage of explaining the surprise expressed by the witch at the unexpected consequences of her own invocation. or any benevolent angel by whom he might be represented. far less under the Christian dispensation — a system under . to the surprise of the Pythoness herself. If. but as a reproach to the prophet's former friend Saul. nor any good angel wearing his likeness. that his sins and discontents. 20). and by whom. or were liable to the same capital punishment. that after death he prophesied. the phrase is understood. and. according to that interpretation. who could transform themselves and others into the appearance of the lower animals raise and allay tempests. She was liable. or perform feats of such magnitude as to alter the face of Nature. which. and misfortune. till very lately. in any part of that sacred volume. the opinion of Samuel's actual appearance is adopted. by their counsel and assistance. to review this miserable spot of mortality. no otherwise resembling her than as called by the same name. grief. The Witch of Endor was a mere fortune-teller.Divine pleasure. while it removes the objection of supposing the spirit of Samuel subject to her influence. the unfortunate King of Israel had recourse in his despair. deservedly to the punishment of death for intruding herself upon the task of the real prophets. either existed at a more recent period. frequent the company and join the revels of evil spirits. by whom the will of God was at that time regularly made known. the words may. indeed. 19. for a very different and much more doubtful class of offences.

than to have made such a fruitless and unavailing proposal. and put their own mystical and ridiculous pretensions to supernatural power in competition with those who had been conferred on purpose to diffuse the gospel. Simon Magus displayed a degree of profane and brutal ignorance inconsistent with his possessing even the intelligence of a skilful impostor. by which the ordinary laws of nature were occasionally suspended. of course. had the possibility of so enormous a sin been admitted. and to overcome and confound the pride of the heathens. And in the first place. in the four Gospels. or fallen angels. it was not likely to escape the warning censure of the Divine Person who came to take away the sins of the world. and facilitate its reception by the exhibition of genuine miracles. and it is plain that a leagued vassal of hell — should we pronounce him such — would have better known his own rank and condition. as the word occurs in the Scripture. or Simon. in the Book of Revelations. as superior in guilt to that of ingratitude. called Magus or the Magician. no man can read the Bible. compared to that of the apostles. or similar forbidden arts.which the emancipation of the human race from the Levitical law was happily and miraculously per fected. mentions the sin of witchcraft. without believing that. Saint Paul. although. or call himself a Christian. as excluded from the city of God. a portion of those powers which were directly derived from inspiration. support. It is clear that. the writers upon witchcraft attempt to wring out of the New Testament proofs of a crime in itself so disgustingly improbable. the Deity. and assistance on the part of the diabolical patron. and equivalent to resorting to the assistance of soothsayers. and it now only remains to mention the nature of the demonology . indeed. by which he could only expose his own impudence and ignorance. or suffered by. and patronage. does not occur. in a cursory manner. This proposition comprehends. and . the permitted agents of such evil as it was his will should be inflicted upon. Indeed. This latter crime is supposed to infer a compact implying reverence and adoration on the part of the witch who comes under the fatal bond. using either good spirits. as gathered from the sacred volumes. from his presumptuous and profane proposal to acquire. which. to acquire knowledge of futurity. the word. but leave us ignorant of its exact nature. every Christian believer is bound to receive as a thing declared and proved to be true. wrought in the land many great miracles. And with these occasional notices. which juxtaposition inclines us to believe that the witchcraft mentioned by the Apostle must have been analogous to that of the Old Testament. during the course of time comprehended by the Divine writers. entitle them to rank above the class of impostors who assumed a character to which they had no real title. the instruments of his pleasure. by purchase. which indicate that there was a transgression so called. With this observation we may conclude our brief remarks upon witchcraft . the children of men. Sorcerers are also joined with other criminals. the acknowledgment of the truth of miracles during this early period. and in the offences of the flesh it is ranked immediately after idolatry. called the Sorcerer. Neither do the exploits of Elymas. to confirm the faith of the Jews. under any sense.

xix. responses which ” palter'd in a double sense" with the deluded persons who consulted them. rather than the audacious intervention of demons. and trick exhibited by the oracles. and returning. whether through demoniacal influence or otherwise. ver. or possessed any manifestation of strength or power. by working seeming miracles. by their priests or their oracles. as well as common sense. and the idols of Egypt are classed. This doctrine has the advantage of affording. and with. to worship evil spirits — we cannot.. for example. in which 6o the impotence of the senseless block. verse 10 et seq . and though. with charmers. and the brutish ignorance of the worshipper. The precise words of the text. This striking passage. Whatever degree of power the false gods of heathendom. a confirmation of many miracles related in pagan or classical history. that the Scriptures mention no one specific instance of such influence expressly recommended to our belief. occurs in the 44th chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah. might be permitted occasionally to exert. so they also resorted to the use of charms and . those who have familiar spirits. and therefore might be said. it is certain. in which the part of the tree burned in the fire for domestic purposes is treated as of the same power and estimation as that carved into an image. forbid us to believe that the images so constructed by common artisans became the habitation or resting-place of demons. and to give a certain degree of countenance to the faith of the worshippers. whose object of adoration is the work of his own hands. was unquestionably under the general restraint and limitation of providence. as. in reason. we cannot deny the possibility of such permission being granted in cases unknown to us. It corresponds also with the texts of Scripture which declare that the gods of the heathen are all devils and evil spirits. and preferred for Gentile homage. on the other. in their sacrifices to Venus. but personifications of certain evil passions of humanity. Secondly. to Bacchus. chap. or devils in their name. men owned the sway of deities who were. which are thus ascribed to the agency of evil spirits. wizards. undoubtedly. was endowed with supernatural power. savours of the mean juggling of impostors. delusion. wise men have thought and argued that the idols of the heathen were actually fiends. in one sense. suppose that every one. that these enemies of mankind had power to assume the shape and appearance of those feeble deities. it is clear that the greater number fell under the description applied to them in another passage of Scripture. &c. severally exercising their powers according to the commission or permission of the Ruler of the universe. in fact. rather. or. to a certain extent. Thirdly.recognises the existence in the spiritual world of the two grand divisions of angels and devils. to Mars. or the thousandth part of the innumerable idols worshipped among the heathen. The whole system of doubt. 2. But whatever license it may be supposed was permitted to the evil spirits of that period — and although. on the one hand. as in Isaiah. as the backsliders among the Jews repeatedly fell off to the worship of the idols of the neighbouring heathens. Most of the fathers of the Christian Church have intimated such an opinion.

and suffered them to be deceived by the lying oracles. we may safely conclude that it was not his pleasure to employ in the execution of his judgments the consequences of any such species of league or compact betwixt devils and deluded mortals. in which they endeavoured by Sortilege. it implied great enmity to mankind. that the promise of the Deity to his chosen people. than a part of inspired writing. to which. and their young men dream dreams. his mere appearance upon earth. abstaining with reverence from accounting ourselves judges of the actions of Omnipotence. direct treason to the divine Legislator. by the Levitical law. forms a striking instance. a passage resembling more an incident in an Arabian tale or Gothic romance. they had recourse. to find as it were a byroad to the secrets of futurity. by observation of augury. in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. What has been translated by that word seems little more than the art of a medicator of poisons. But the romantic and fabulous strain of this legend has induced the fathers of all Protestant churches to deny it a place amongst the writings sanctioned by divine origin. Fourthly. so that in the fulness of his time he would pour out his spirit upon all flesh. however. The book of Tobit contains. and who has strangled seven bridegrooms in succession. if they conducted themselves agreeably to the law which he had given. And on the other hand. We are indeed assured from the sacred writings. we may observe that. the fumes produced by broiling the liver of a certain fish are described as having power to drive away an evil genius who guards the nuptial chamber of an Assyrian princess. without awaiting the fulfilment of his . indeed. according to many wise and learned men. as that denounced in the laws of our own ancestors under the name of witchcraft . and. by the means of Urim and Thummim. Ezekiel. a crime. But for the same reason that withholds us from delivering any opinion upon the degree to which the devil and his angels might be allowed to countenance the impositions of the heathen priesthood. was. it is no less evident that the Almighty. when their sons and daughters should prophesy. and on the other hand. in considering the incalculable change which took place upon the Advent of our Saviour and the announcement of his law. so far as they had liberty. since. Of this the punishment arising from the Deity abandoning Ahab to his own devices. or the flight of birds.enchantments. in flagrant violation of his commands. and other holy seers. hails the fulfilment in the mission of our Saviour. by Teraphim. that the communication with the invisible world would be enlarged. directed. and in the second. abandoned them to their own fallacious desires. Such were the promises delivered to the Israelites by Joel. In this. which they called Nahas . as they approached the nuptial couch. it is impossible for us conclusively to pronounce what effect might be permitted by supreme Providence to the ministry of such evil spirits as presided over. and we may therefore be excused from entering into discussion on such imperfect evidence. and suffering him to be deceived by a lying spirit. combined with that of a Pythoness or false prophetess. of which St. Lastly. founded on a superstitious perversion of their own Levitical ritual. Peter. of a capital nature. their old men see visions. in the first capacity. to punish the disobedience of the Jews. these sinful enquiries among the Jews themselves.

by authorities of no mean weight. and those demons who had aped the Divinity of the place were driven from their abode on earth. the oracles silenced. With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. whether in the classic personifications of Greece. The parting Genius is with sighing sent. fled. The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn. “ And sullen Moloch. but . fiends and demons were permitted an enlarged degree of power in uttering predictions. “ Peor and Baalim Forsake their temples dim. A voice of weeping heard and loud lament. Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine. They call the grisly king. that at the Divine Advent that power was restrained. With flower-inwoven tresses torn. The brutish gods of Nile as fast. Edged with poplar pale. may also give credit to the proposition. In urns and altars round. It has been asserted. in the case of what is called Demoniacal possession. Hath left in shaddws dread His burning idol all of darkest hue. haste. Milton has. In what exact sense we should understand this word possession it is impossible to discover.” it may be upon conviction of its truth. and the Dog Anubis. The idea of identifying the pagan deities. peculiar Power foregoes his wonted seat. While each. A drear and dying sound Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint. is not certainly to be lightly rejected. or the hieroglyphical enormities of the Egyptian Mythology. however. and concluding that the descent of our Saviour struck them with silence. but it is scarcely possible to shorten what is so beautiful and interesting a description of the heathen deities. It must be noticed. Apollo from his shrine Can no more divine. Heaven's queen and mother both. and ape in some degree the attributes of the Deity. In dismal dance about the furnace blue. that this great event had not the same effect on that peculiar class of fiends who were permitted to vex mortals by the alienation of their minds. In vain with cymbals ring. From haunted spring and dale. In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.” The quotation is a long one. in the ” Paradise Lost. with the manifestation of demoniac power. the departure of these pretended deities on the eve of the blessed Nativity: — ” The oracles are dumb. ” The lonely mountains o'er. And the chill marble seems to sweat. embraced the theory which identifies the followers of Satan with the gods of the heathen. be thus describes. even in his own splendid writings. And mooned Ashtaroth. And the resounding shore. No nightly trance or breathed spell Inspires the pale-eyed priests from the prophetic cell. and. in the elder time. in one of his earlier pieces. and the abuse of their persons. No voice or hideous hum Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. “ In consecrated earth. The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint. especially the most distinguished of them. Isis and Orus. in a tone of poetry almost unequalled. operated as an act of banishment of such heathen deities as had hitherto been suffered to deliver oracles. With that twice-battered god of Palestine. honoured as it was by a guest so awful.mission. And on the holy hearth. in simple prose. The Lybic Hammon'shrinks his horn. so nobly expressed in the poetry of Milton. nor does there appear anything inconsistent in the faith of those who. believing that. the horrible shapes worshipped by mere barbarians.

it could not consist with his kindness and wisdom to leave the enemy in the possession of the privilege of deluding men by imaginary miracles calculated for the perversion of that faith which real miracles were no longer present to support.” I Cor. in its ordinary and popular sense. although cases of possession are repeatedly mentioned in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. ransomed at such a price. or plead the commands of such a person. The indulgence which was then granted to him in a case so unique and peculiar soon passed over and was utterly restrained. silenced. from his presence. in the time of its Founder and His immediate disciples. in a great proportion of those melancholy cases of witchcraft with which the records of later times abound.we feel it impossible to doubt (notwithstanding learned authorities to the contrary) that it was a dreadful disorder. Such a permission on the part of the Supreme Being would be (to speak under the deepest reverence) an abandonment of His chosen people. because the miracles effected by our Saviour and his apostles. And here is an additional proof that witchcraft. and perverting their faith. he personally suffered the temptation in the wilderness at the hand of Satan. even out of the very mouths of those ejected fiends. upon this memorable occasion. in order that Jesus might have his share in every species of delusion and persecution which the fallen race of Adam is heir to. the stress of the evidence is rested on the declaration of the possessed. There would. It is indisputable that. attested and celebrated their inappreciable mission. deceiving men's bodily organs. x. to come on earth with great power. abusing their minds. that although Satan was allowed. It must also be admitted that in another most remarkable respect. he drove. It is evident that. the power of the Enemy of mankind was rather enlarged than bridled or restrained. whom. and shamed. without resorting to his divine power. and may be pretty well assured that it was suffered to continue after the Incarnation. be a shocking inconsistency in supposing that false and deceitful prophecies and portents should be freely circulated by any demoniacal influence. as the cause of occupying or tormenting the victim. But it appears. after the lapse of the period during which it pleased the Almighty to establish His own Church by miraculous displays of power. we presume to say. confuted. The Fathers of the Faith are not strictly agreed at what period the miraculous . that some old man or woman in the neighbourhood had compelled the fiend to be the instrument of evil. Nor would it consist with the remarkable promise in holy writ. afforded the most direct proofs of his divine mission. to the snares of an enemy from whom the worst evils were to be apprehended. in consequence of the Saviour coming upon earth. in curing those tormented in this way. of a kind not merely natural. while the true religion was left by its great Author devoid of every supernatural sign and token which. the permission was given expressly because his time was short. — whereas. that ” God will not suffer His people to be tempted above what they are able to bear. was unknown at that period. or the demon within him. 13. yet in no one instance do the devils ejected mention a witch or sorcerer. the most malignant enemies of a power to which they dared not refuse homage and obedience.

the demon and the witch or wizard combined their various powers of doing harm to inflict calamities upon the person and property. infecting and blighting children. and death itself. the purpose of which was to discover whether any real evidence could be derived from sacred history to prove the early existence of that branch of demonology which has been the object. may continue to linger among the benighted wanderers of their race at the present day. without nearly the same evidence which might conquer the incredulity of their neighbours the Protestants. of innocent human beings. for what we know. and that there were wretches wicked enough. spreading pestilence among cattle. and the like. merely for the gratification of malignant spite or the enjoyment of some beastly revelry. to prove that there is a possibility of that crime being committed. If it could be supposed that such unnatural leagues existed. of criminal prosecution and capital punishment. will hardly assent to any particular case. or down to what precise period in the history of the Christian Church cures of demoniacal possession or similar displays of miraculous power may have occurred. or carryiug them home to their own garners 3 annihilating or transferring to their own dairies the produce of herds. in which. The Roman Catholics. though they dare not deny a fundamental tenet of their church. when the Christian religion was fully established in supremacy. in comparatively modern times. raising tempests to ravage the crops of their enemies. boldly affirm that the power of miraculous interference with the course of Nature is still in being. It is alike inconsistent with the common sense of either that fiends should be permitted to work marvels which are no longer exhibited on the part of Heaven. After their conquest and dispersion they were remarked among the Romans for such superstitious practices. Little benefit could arise from attaining the exact knowledge of the manner in which the apostate Jews practised unlawful charms or auguries. imposing the most horrible diseases. But it is still more just and equitable. as the term was understood in the Middle Ages. and. the fortune and the fame. indeed. before punishment be inflicted for any crime. or in behalf of religion. We have already alluded to this as the contract of witchcraft. because it com-prehends questions not more doubtful than unedifying. We have avoided controversy on that head. We have therefore advanced an important step in our enquiry when we have ascertained that the witch of the Old Testament was not capable of anything beyond the . as marks of their slightest ill-will. in a word. but the enlightened even of this faith. It is not necessary for us to ascertain in what degree the power of Satan was at liberty to display itself during the Jewish dispensation. to become the wretched slaves of infernal spirits. But all these things are extraneous to our enquiry. but few Protestants are disposed to bring it down beneath the accession of Constantine. by means far beyond mere human power to accomplish. transforming their own persons and those of others at their pleasure. It will be observed that we have not been anxious to decide upon the limits of probability on this question. most just and equitable would be those laws which cut them off from the midst of every Christian commonwealth.power was withdrawn from the Church. doing more evil than the heart of man might be supposed capable of conceiving.

and the churchmen. however. we may give an example from the . and Apollo were. that there were open displays of supernatural aid afforded by the evil spirits to the Turks and Saracens. and Mahound. To pass from the pagans of antiquity — the Mahommedans. endeavour to show that many of the particular articles of the popular belief respecting magic and witchcraft were derived from the opinions which the ancient heathens entertained as part of their religion. Romance. they had principles lying deep in the human mind and heart of all times. becoming gradually corrupted by the devices of men and the barbarism of those nations among whom it was spread showed. and indeed seems connected with and deduced from the invaluable conviction of the certainty of a future state. it is very possible that particular stories of this class may have seemed undeniable in the dark ages. and by no means the least gross. The most enormous fictions spread abroad and believed through Christendom attested the fact. or the influence of delusions produced by derangement of the intellect or imperfect reports of the external senses. To show the extreme grossness of these legends. but one deeply tinged with the remains of that very pagan ignorance which its Divine Founder came to dispel. To recommend them. in other words. and fictitious reports were not less liberal in assigning to the Christians extraordinary means of defence through the direct protection of blessed saints and angels. that the more modern system of witchcraft was a part. where their abode gave so much scandal and offence to the devout. however. Termagaunt. in the opinion of the Western Crusaders. either from craft or from ignorance. in a future part of this enquiry. or of holy men yet in the flesh. Moreover. but already anticipating the privileges proper to a state of beatitude and glory. we deny the possibility of a crime which was declared capital in the Mosaic law. We will. only so many names of the arch-fiend and his principal angels. We have thus removed out of the argument the startling objection that. though their profession of faith is exclusively unitarian. who played his deceptions openly amongst them. They obtained.administration of baleful drugs or the practising of paltry imposture. or to protect and defend them in the Holy Land. though our better instructed period can explain them in a satisfactory manner by the excited temperament of spectators. a light indeed. favoured the progress of a belief which certainly contributed in a most powerful manner to extend their own authority over the human mind. combined in representing all who were out of the pale of the Church as the personal vassals of Satan. the tendency to belief in supernatural agencies is natural. who were supposed to aid them in their continual warfare against the Christians. in denying the existence of witchcraft. universal faith and credit. were accounted worshippers of evil spirits. of that mass of errors which appeared among the members of the Christian Church when their religion. and even history. and possessing the power to work miracles. and are left at full liberty to adopt the opinion. that she did not hold the character ascribed to a modern sorceress.

In Esthonia. which appeared at Rome in the sixteenth century. confident of his stratagem. it may be supposed. not as a tale of fiction. Lithuania. armed at all points and with various marks of his religious faith displayed on his weapons. The mare neighed till she shook the ground for miles around. and the Soldan. could not obey the signal. till their belief respecting the demons of the Holy Land seems to have been not very far different from that expressed in the title of Ben Jonson's play.” One of the earliest maps ever published. it was written in what the author designed to be the Style of true history. should kneel down to suck his dam. . obeying the signal of its dam as usual. of an accurate account of the country. But the English king was warned by an angel in a dream of the intended stratagem. while his army were cut to pieces by the Christians. Amid the pagans.” premising at the same time that. Richard. the Soldan who mounted the mare might get an easy advantage over him. but by such legends our ancestors were amused and interested. like other romances. and which we may at the same time call a very clumsy trick for the devil to be concerned in. “ The Devil is an Ass. Saladin was dismounted. it is said. encountered him boldly. armed with scimitars and dressed in caftans.romance of ” Richard Coeur de Lion. previously to the combat. the fiends are painted as assisting them. intimates a similar belief in the connexion of the heathen nations of the north of Europe with the demons of the spiritual world. that whenever the mare neighed. the chart. challenging Coeur de Lion to meet him in single combat between the armies. In this condition. exhibits rude cuts of the fur-clad natives paying homage at the shrines of demons. and the colt was. for the purpose of deciding at once their pretensions to the land of Palestine. The renowned Saladin. should be the future object of adoration by the subjects of both monarchs. conjured in the holy name to be obedient to his rider during the encounter. with the present of a colt recommended as a gallant warhorse. rode forth to meet Saladin. which was a brute of uncommon size. Courland. and was addressed to hearers and readers. while at other places they are displayed as doing battle with the Teutonic knights. His ears were stopped with wax. and narrowly escaped death. A Saracen clerk had conjured two devils into a mare and her colt. but his word was not entirely credited. It is but an awkward tale of wonder where a demon is worsted by a trick which could hardly have cheated a common horse-jockey. so that the legend is a proof of what the age esteemed credible and were disposed to believe as much as if had been extracted from a graver chronicle. but the sucking devil. had dispatched an embassy to King Richard. or Jupiter. The enchanted foal was sent to King Richard in the belief that the foal. or other military associations formed for the conversion or expulsion of the heathens in these parts. with the instruction. by the celestial mandate. and the theological question whether the God of the Christians. but a real narrative of facts. Now. whom the wax prevented from hearing the summons. the deity of the Saracens. who make themselves. under this seemingly chivalrous defiance was concealed a most unknightly stratagem. the foal. The fiend-horse intimated his submission by drooping his head. and such districts. for want. visibly present to them.

while. that the Indians. * Other heathen nations. and tail like a dragon. that one of the European officers. themselves intimate the connexion of modern demonology with the mythology of the ancients. that if the image represented the Devil. The great snake-god of Mexico. or cunning men. added the loud protest. possessed as they were professionally of some skill in jugglery and the knowledge of some medical herbs and secrets.pourtrayed in all the modern horrors of the cloven foot. he dropped on his knees. or. By the account. he paid his homage to the Holy Virgin. Even in North America. fell under suspicion of diabolical practices. were nevertheless involved. to adore the Blessed Virgin. and if the images themselves were not actually tenanted by evil spirits. to raise themselves to influence among the chiefs. We learn from the information of a Portuguese voyager that even the native Christians (called those of St. . The cloven foot is the attribute of Pan — to whose talents for inspiring terror we owe the word panic — the snaky tresses are borrowed from the shield of Minerva. and called on them. in the same charge of witchcraft and worship of demons brought by the Christians of the Middle Ages against the heathens of northern Europe and the Mahommedans of the East. locks like serpents. bat wings. Thomas). so soon as Europeans became acquainted with them. which. gave but too much probability to this accusation. in their idol worship. These attributes. and the hideous form which he had produced resembled an inhabitant of the infernal regions so much more than Our Lady of Grace. as the Germans term it. the first settlers in New England and other parts of that immense continent uniformly agreed that they detected among the inhabitants traces of an intimate connexion with Satan. and that their priests inculcated doctrines and rites the foulest and most abhorrent to Christian ears. whose creeds could not have directly contributed to the system of demonology. and the dragon train alone seems to be connected with the Scriptural history. horse's foot. as good Christians. and other idols worshipped with human sacrifices and bathed in the gore of their prisoners. because their manners and even their very existence was unknown when it was adopted. It is scarce necessary to remark that this opinion was founded exclusively upon the tricks practised by the native powahs. It was almost in vain that the priests of one of their chapels produced to the Portuguese officers and soldiers a holy image. and to obtain esteem with the people. whom the discoverers found in India when they first arrived there. the worship which the Mexicans paid to them was founded upon such deadly cruelty and dark superstition as might easily be believed to have been breathed into mortals by the agency of hell. were favoured by the demons with a direct intercourse. like his companions. In South America the Spaniards justified the unrelenting cruelties exercised on the unhappy natives by reiterating in all their accounts of the countries which they discovered and conquered. saucer eyes. it may be cursorily noticed. the understanding of the colonists was unable to trace to their real source — legerdemain and imposture. The sculptor had been so little acquainted with his art.

as he might well conceive. debarring sleep. but few obtained their desire. who never pretended to astrological knowledge. I am willing to let my reader know.: yet of the many designed. I must a little digress. This powah. From another narrative we are entitled to infer that the European wizard was held superior to the native sorcerer of North America. yet could precisely. Supposing that where the practice of witchcraft has been highly esteemed. from the above and similar passages. who were esteemed as having immediate converse with the gods. powahs. after a little pausing. and whither carried. observing a certain diet. as they esteemed it.” It appears. or in the use of certain rites and ceremonies. * he does not ascribe to these Indian conjurers any skill greatly superior to a maker of almanacks or common fortuneteller. but encouragement of her husband. advanced. now canonized in a lump by those who . for that she served a god that was above his. from whence goods stolen from them were gone. out of zeal. but sufficiently credulous man.however. Nor were all powahs alike successful in their addresses. his god's continued kindness obliged him not to forsake his service. demanded why he requested that from him. and tell my reader. often dedicated their children to the gods. obtain familiarity with the infernal spirits. Cotton Mather. so far above his own in power and attainments. since himself served another God? that therefore he could not help him. Among the numberless extravagances of the Scottish Dissenters of the 17th century. and educated them accordingly. not many years since. or wizards. here died one of the powahs. that parents. nor was he ever known to endeavour to conceal his knowledge to be immediately from a god subservient to him that the English worship. and attended the public worship on the Lord's days He declared that he could not blame her. 'If you can believe that my god may help you.” says the Doctor. being by an Englishman worthy of credit (who lately informed me of the same). The latter only desired to elude the necessity of his practices being brought under the observant eye of an European. had mistaken the purpose of the tolerant powah. that Dr. of the Reverend Cotton Mather. “ universally acknowledged and worshipped many gods. “ They. with many things of the like nature. In so much. therefore. and lived in the practice and profession of the Christian religion.. as might reasonably infer a corresponding superiority in the nature and objects of their worship. which tradition had left as conducing to that end. not only by the approbation. but that as to himself. while he found an ingenious apology in the admitted superiority which he naturally conceded to the Deity of a people.' which diverted the man from further enquiry. I will try what I can do . in his Magnalia . inform such who desired his assistance. &c. She constantly prayed in the family. having formerly been an eye-witness of his ability. desired to advise him who had taken certain goods which had been stolen. but they became such. there must be given the plainest demonstration of mortals having familiarity with infernal spirits. that this powah's wife was accounted a godly woman. and therefore highly esteemed and reverenced their priests. To them. they addressed themselves in all difficult cases: yet could not all that desired that dignity. but added. the powah. an honest and devout. book vi. either by immediate revelation. that.

” says Walker. from his size.”* We Must necessarily infer that the pretensions of the natives to supernatural communication could not be of a high class. Notwithstanding this inferiority on the part of the powahs. that the magic. ran behind the door. Thus. did their best to correct this scandalous lenity. was much admired by the heathen for his familiar converse with the devil bodily. and imputed it as a fresh crime to the Duke of York that. though sufficiently emphatic. “ He died there. and beat him so severely that the Test were afraid that he had killed him outright. the lunatic. New England. After which specimen of fraternal chastisement. and committed to prison. and caused the raising of two regiments. when it applied to themselves. used to disturb their worship in jail by his maniac howling. he considered the discipline of the house of correction as more likely to bring the unfortunate Gibbites to their senses than the more dignified severities of a public trial and the gallows. in the year 1692. who afterwards suffered at the gallows. This mode of quieting the unlucky heretic. and offering sacrifices to him. and one or two other men. who sometimes adopted their appearance. as an act of solemn adherence to their new faith. sat howling like a chastised cur. however. to the great annoyance of the colonists. This man. though he could not be often accused of toleration. Gibb headed a party. since the natives themselves gave honour and precedence to those Europeans who came among them with the character of possessing intercourse with the spirits whom they themselves professed to worship. went the wildest lengths of enthusiasm. The Cameronians. we are assured. and the rest of the Dissenters. Meikle John Gibb.view them in the general light of enemies to Prelacy. or powahing. were nevertheless much offended that these poor mad people were not brought to capital punishment for their blasphemous extravagances. and. being deemed ineffectual or inconvenient. whenever the prisoners began worship. in general. of the North American Indians was not of a nature to be much apprehended by the British colonists. burned their Bibles. But on being finally transported to America. was a certain ship-master. between Airth and Stirling. and there. skirmished repeatedly with the English. who was their comrade in captivity. But as these visitants. and silence him by a napkin thrust into his mouth. As Meikle John Gibb. They were apprehended inconsequence. it occurred to the settlers that the heathen Indians and Roman Catholic Frenchmen were particularly favoured by the demons. and showed themselves in their likeness. by whom they . “ about the year 1720. two of them took turn about to hold him down by force. besides twenty or thirty females who adhered to them. and the dispatching a strong reinforcement to the assistance of the settlement. dashed the maniac with his feet and hands against the wall. in the county of Essex. George Jackson. since we find them honouring this poor madman as their superior. a Cameronian. John Gibb. however differently they were affected by the persecution of Government. called. a person called Jamie. alarmed the country around very greatly. who followed him into the moorlands. with his own napkin crammed into his mouth. to avoid the repetition of the discipline. and at the Ford Moss. a party of real or imaginary French and Indians exhibited themselves occasionally to the colonists of the town of Gloucester.

and that as well within the limits of Europe as in every other part of the globe to which their arms were carried. * “On Remarkable Mercies of Divine Providence. * It appears. from its possessor. though they exchanged fire with the settlers.” book vii. the English became convinced that they were not real Indians and Frenchmen.” and Wodrow's ” History. * “Magnalia.” LETTER III. Creed of Zoroaster-Received partially into most Heathen Nations Instances among the Celtic Tribes of Scotland — Beltane Feast — Gudeman's Croft-Such abuses admitted into Christianity after the earlier Ages of the Church-Law of the Romans against Witchcraft — Roman customs survive the fall of their Religion — Instances Demonology of the Northern Barbarians-Niicksas-Bhar-geist-Correspondence between the Northern and Roman Witches — The power of Fascination ascribed to the Sorceresses-Example from the ” Eyrbiggia Saga” — The Prophetesses of the Germans — The Gods of Valhalla not highly regarded by their Worshippers — Often defied by the Champions — Demons of the North — Story of Assueit and Asmund — Action of Ejectment against Spectres — .” upon the article John Gibb. but that the devil and his agents had assumed such an appearance. engraved in bronze about the end of the 15th century. although seemingly not enabled effectually to support it. and endeavour to trace from what especial sources the people of the Middle Ages derived those notions which gradually assumed the shape of a regular system of demonology. existed through all Europe.” * See Patrick Walker's ” Biographia Presbyteriana.were plagued more than a fortnight.” vol. also “ God's judgment upon Persecutors. * The chart alluded to is one of the facsimiles of an ancient planisphere. It seems to have been founded originally on feelings incident to the human heart. article xviii. never killed or scalped any one. It is now necessary to enter more minutely into the question. that the commonly received doctrine of demonology. and called the Borgian Table. The fact is also alleged in the ” Life of Sir William Phipps. presenting the same general outlines. that the ideas of superstition which the more ignorant converts to the Christian faith borrowed from the wreck of the classic mythology. p. Cardinal Stephen Borgia. end preserved in his museum at Veletri. that these found corroboration of their faith in demonology in the practice of every pagan nation whose destiny it was to encounter them as enemies. or diseases to which the human frame is liable — to have been largely augmented by what classic superstitions survived the ruins of paganism-and to have received new contributions from the opinions collected among the barbarous nations. though varied according to the fancy of particular nations. were so rooted in the minds of their successors. then. whether of the east or of the west. for the molestation of the colony. 23. it may be safely laid down. In a word. ii.

* Another custom of similar origin lingered late among us. be offensive to the stern inhabitant of the regions of despair. which the peasantry observe without thinking of their origin. such is the timid servility of human nature that the worshippers will neglect the altars of the Author of good rather than that of Arimanes. Though it was not expressly avowed. About 1769. in fact. like the TEMENOS of a pagan temple. Remains of these superstitions might be traced till past the middle of the last century. the ceremony of the Baaltein. or rather the being whose agents they were. leads the fear and awe deeply impressed on the human mind to the worship as well of the author of evil. Beltane. which were formally dedicated to birds or beasts of prey that they. whom our ancestors distinguished by a name which. Europe seems to have been originally peopled. They did not. perhaps. but suffered to remain waste. though varying in different districts of the Highlands. under various denominations. was divided into fragments. no one doubted that ” the goodman's croft” was set apart for some evil being. which was never ploughed or cultivated. possessed. In many parishes of Scotland there was suffered to exist a certain portion of land. by whom. though fast becoming obsolete. in common with other savages. might be merciful to suppliants who had acknowledged their power. while they shrink from the idea of irritating the vengeful jealousy of the awful father of evil. or First of May. or consider the malignant divinities as sufficiently powerful to undertake a direct struggle with the more benevolent gods. supposes the co-existence of a benevolent and malevolent principle. yet they thought it worth while to propitiate them by various expiatory rites and prayers. called the gudeman' croft. as to that of his great opponent. or passing into mere popular customs of the country. which naturally occurs to unassisted reason as a mode of accounting for the mingled existence of good and evil in the visible world — that belief which. Pennant made his tour. so tremendous in all the effects of which credulity accounts him the primary cause. who is loved and adored as the father of all that is good and bountiful. which contend together without either being able decisively to prevail over his antagonist. adore Arimanes under one sole name. in one modification or another. that they.Adventure of a Champion with the Goddess Freya — Conversion of the Pagans of Iceland to Christianity — Northern Superstitions mixed with those of the Celts — Satyrs of the North-Highland Ourisk-Meming the Satyr. which was then baken with scrupulous attention to certain rites and forms. could not. might spare the flocks and herds. it was supposed. and the cake. when Mr. This was so general a custom that the Church published an ordinance against it as an impious and blasphemous usage. and deprecated their vengeance. while it was generally understood. . and the elementary tempests which they conceived to be under their direct command. The Celtic tribes. THE creed of Zoroaster. trusting with indifference to the well-known mercy of the one. Nay. was yet in strict observance. that it was the portion of the arch-fiend himself. a natural tendency to the worship of the evil principle.

as when the church consisted of a few individuals. for the purpose of authenticating their mission. land where its doctrines had obtained universal credence. On the contrary. even in the Roman empire. sanctified to barrenness by some favourite popular superstition. in the genuine and perfect sense of the word. bow much more imperfectly could those foreign and barbarous tribes receive the necessary religious information from some zealous and enthusiastic preacher. as well of language. dig earth and stones. for communicating their doctrine to the Gentiles. and its cause no longer required the direction of inspired men. invested for the purpose with miraculous powers. and at the same time exposing them to persecution. existed. as of cures. at the Divine pleasure. But this will not appear so wonderful when it is recollected that the original Christians under the heathen emperors were called to conversion by the voice of apostles and saints. or otherwise disturb them. could not at once clear their minds of heathen ritual and heathen observances. upon conviction. because. among the earlier members of the church. ploughshare entered the soil. and it was deemed unlawful and dangerous to cut wood. it may at first sight seem strange that the Christian religion should have permitted the existence of such gross and impious relics of heathenism. who had. to intrude themselves into so select an association. but there must still be many alive who. as well as in Scotland. If this was the case. For the same reason the mounts called Sith Bhruaith were respected. in a. Within our own memory. in childhood. where the converts to the Christian faith must have found. who christened them by hundreds in one day? Still less could we imagine them to have acquired a knowledge of Christianity. When the cross became triumphant. to compel reluctant belief. the members of which rose most readily to promotion — many. which they inconsistently laboured to unite with the more simple and majestic faith that disdained such impure union. exchanged the errors of the pagan religion for the dangers and duties incurred by those who embraced a faith inferring the self-denial of its votaries. who. when. both in Wales and Ireland. and when hypocrites ventured. have been taught to look with wonder on knolls and patches of ground left uncultivated. it is evident that the converts who thronged into the fold must have. but the high price of agricultural produce during the late war renders it doubtful if a veneration for greybearded superstition has suffered any one of them to remain undesecrated. or the evidence of miracles.* Now. the elementary spirits were supposed to testify their displeasure by storm and thunder. whenever a. to be detected and punished.This singular custom sunk before the efforts of the clergy in the seventeenth century. as was frequently the . like Ananias and Sapphira. These converts must have been in general such elect persons as were effectually called to make part of the infant church. prevailing faith — many because it was the church. many of them. though content to resign the worship of pagan divinities. entered because Christianity was the. finally. they were liable. the readiest and the soundest instruction. the nations who were converted after Christianity had become the religion of the empire were not brought within the pale upon such a principle of selection. many such places.

how often the dethronement or death of the sovereign was produced by conspiracies or mutinies which took their rise from pretended prophecies. we shall be led to conclude that the civil law does not found upon the prohibitions and penalties in Scripture. and confessors. on the other hand. attaching more consequence to a change of religion than to a change of garments. “ be silent in every one henceforth and for ever. might be of opinion that. and accustomed to a plurality of deities. the lawyers of the lower empire acted upon the example of those who had compiled the laws of the twelve tables. Some compromise between the fear and the conscience of the new converts. although it condemns the ars mathematica (for the most mystic and uncertain of all sciences. Such hasty converts. and utterly interdicted. at a time when the church no longer consisted exclusively of saints. Phidyle. some of them who bestowed unusual thought on the matter. they might have been told that Constantine. If. he shall be punished capitally who disobeys our commands in this matter. the disciples . * For. at that time held the title which now distinguishes the most exact) as a damnable art. nor instructed in their new one. who conceived that the empire itself lay before them as a spoil. moved chiefly by the danger arising to the person of the prince and the quiet of the state. indeed. had denounced death against any who used these unlawful enquiries into futurity. perhaps. the laws of the empire could have been supposed to have had any influence over those fierce barbarians. The weight of the crime among the Jews was placed on the blasphemy of the diviners. The Roman legislators were. would have been a crime of a deep dye in a Christian convert. they had not renounced the service of every inferior power. in the history of the empire.* The mistaken and misplaced devotion which Horace recommends to the rural nymph. much more for a political than a religious cause.” says the law. were desirous to place a check upon the mathematics (as they termed the art of divination). martyrs.case. as one relapsed to the rites of paganism. subjected to the avenging sword of the law. we look more closely into this enactment. however. and declares that the practitioners therein should die by fire. taking the offence of alleged magicians and sorcerers in the same light in which it was viewed in the law of Moses. professing themselves Christians. therefore.” If. and their treason against the theocracy instituted by Jehovah. they only assumed the profession of the religion that had become the choice of some favoured chief. real or pretended. The reigning emperors. so apt to be unsettled by every pretence or encouragement to innovation. but neither weaned from their old belief. in adopting the God of the Christians. entered the sanctuary without' laying aside the superstitions with which their young minds had been imbued. since we observe. without. whose example they followed in mere love and loyalty. as enemies of the human race — yet the reason of this severe treatment seems to be different from that acted upon in the Mosaical institutions. he was at liberty to fear them in their new capacity of fiends. but he might indulge his superstition by supposing that though he must not worship Pan or Ceres as gods. and must have subjected him to excommunication. In this mode of viewing the crime. “ Let the unlawful curiosity of prying into futurity.

the Scottish. and belong to this class: The bride. by which the heathen. avoid contracting marriage in the month of May. are in existence even at this late and enlightened period. and even their priestly guides. even of the better rank. among a long list of stated festivals. called Gibbites. We may hastily mention one or two customs of classical origin. or retained numbers of those which had made part of their own national forms of heathenism. and similar classes of unrefined humanity. When such belief in a hostile principle and its imaginations was become general in the Roman empire. if not as an act of worship. those wild nations. and to step on it or over it voluntarily is reckoned a bad omen. in 1684.of inspired Apostles. in addition to the Beltane and those already noticed. whom they had succeeded. popish relics. a set of enthusiasts. words. Thus. to those sacrifices. On the same occasion a sweet cake. would have been an additional reason for their anathema against the practice. to resort as a charm.* . and that it was by a show of violence towards the females that the object of peopling the city was attained. proposed to renounce it. the profane names of the days of the week. appear so peculiarly favourable for that purpose. in other respects. This custom was universal in Rome. subject like themselves to human passions and errors. that the union was formed within this interdicted month. and all sorts of idle and silly practices which their tender consciences took an exception to. which. that it is only had women who marry in that month. and we ought rather to wonder and admire the Divine clemency. although those by whom they are practised have not preserved the least memory of their original purpose. Huns. which is also a rite of classic antiquity. It was specially objected to the marriage of Mary with the profligate Earl of Bothwell. which genial season of flowers and breezes might. when she enters the house of her husband. made them prone to an error which there were few judicious preachers to warn them against. pretended to arrest evil or procure benefits. had these fanatics been aware of it. where it was observed as keeping in memory the rape of the Sabines. is broken above the head of the bride. however fit a season for courtship. than that they should. not forgetting. The following customs still linger in the south of Scotland. This prejudice was so looted among the Scots that. and disposed them to receive a religion so repugnant to their warlike habits. names of the months. which imparted to so rude nations the light of the Gospel. which remain as examples that the manners of the Romans once gave the tone to the greater part of the island of Britain. is also borrowed from the Roman pagans. Vandals. baked for the purpose. borrowed from the pagans. at the same time. though the thrones of Jupiter and the superior deities of the heathen Pantheon were totally overthrown and broken to pieces. the ignorance of its conquerors. Goths. fast-days. have adopted many gross superstitions. fragments of their worship and many of their rites survived the conversion to Christianity — nay. Franks. In like manner. led them. and at least to the whole which was to the south of the wall of Severus. This objection to solemnize marriage in the merry month of May. is lifted over the threshold. and ritual. The ancients have given us as a maxim.

and it was believed.The custom of saying God bless you. which. But besides these. The Nixa of the Germans is one of those fascinating and lovely fays whom the ancients termed Naiads. blended and mingled with those which they brought with them out of their own country. by the vulgar at least. and believes him the author of almost all the various calamities to which the precarious life of a seaman is so continually exposed. Danes. who took from them the most choice ingredients composing their charms. that some families bearing the name of Dobie carry a phantom or spectre. The Old Nick known in England is an equally genuine descendant of the northern sea-god. or Bhar-geist. worshipped on the shores of the Baltic. and prevent his beneficial operation upon the fruits of the earth. also called a Dobie — a local spectre which haunts a particular spot under various forms — is a deity. Canidia. and Northmen of a later period. intercept the influence of the sun. he had been not unnaturally chosen as the power most adverse to man. whose spells could perplex the course of the elements. a river or ocean god. The classic mythology presented numerous points in which it readily coalesced with that of the Germans. passant. by which name it is generally acknowledged through various country parts of England. fostered and formed the materials of a demonological creed which has descended down almost to our own times. Amid the twilight winters and overpowering tempests of these gloomy regions. They recognized the power of Erictho. and disturb the original and destined course of Nature by their words and charms and the power of the evil spirits whom they invoked. or Nicksa. and the hope that. and particularly in Yorkshire. that it was dangerous to leave corpses unguarded lest they should be mangled by the witches. derived from sternutation being considered as a crisis of the plague at Athens. it must not be forgotten that these frightful sorceresses possessed the power of transforming themselves and others into . and possesses a larger portion of his powers and terrors The British sailor. Nixas. her temper is generally mild and her actions beneficent. who fears nothing else. when a person in company sneezes. when it was attained the patient had a chance of recovery. and if it be true. They were also professionally implicated in all such mystic and secret rites and ceremonies as were used to conciliate the favour of the infernal powers. however the word may have been selected for a proper name. and many other customs which the various nations of Europe received from the classical times. The Bhar-guest. as his name implies. Above all.* it plainly implies that. seems to have taken uncontested possession of the attributes of Neptune. Such hags were frequent agents in the violation of unburied bodies. and unless her pride is insulted or her jealousy awakened by an inconstant lover. and which it is not our object to investigate. and the supernatural character with which he was invested has descended to our time under two different aspects. its original derivation had not then been forgotten. in like manner. of Teutonic descent. whose dispositions were supposed as dark and wayward as their realms were gloomy and dismal. as the author has been informed. and other sorceresses. in their armorial bearings. they derived from thence a shoal of superstitious beliefs. confesses his terror for this terrible being. is. call down the moon from her appointed sphere.

but of gallantry and high courage. seized the distaff. that it was no . they said. But in thus adopting the superstitions of the ancients. “ Alas !” said Katla. seized on the object of their animosity. The poets of the heathens. for prophetic powers. On the contrary. and burn it. A party detached to avenge this wrong. and put him to death. with authors of fiction.” said Geirada. so much honoured among the German tribes. “ Fools. A third time he was a hog. against whom spells avail not. But this second time. named Katla. who in a brawl had cut off the hand of the daughter-in-law of Geirada.animals. and even obtained a share in the direction of their armies. augmented as one of Katla's maidens. as we are assured by Tacitus. giving the result of such a controversy between two of these gifted women. where the existence of hags of the same character formed a great feature in their Sagas and their Chronicles. the witch disguised her son under the appearance of a tame kid. was accounted not an act of impiety. ascribe all these powers to the witches of the pagan world. It requires but a slight acquaintance with these compositions to enable the reader to recognize in the Galdrakinna of the Scalds the Stryga or witch-woman of more classical climates. who kept watch. among those sons of the sword and the spear. and was supposed to be a special attribute of the race of Gipsies. combining them with the art of poisoning and of making magical philtres to seduce the affections of the young and beautiful. and such were the characteristics which. returned deceived by the skill of hismother. in greater or less extent. or deceptio visus . The party returned yet again. “ that distaff was the man you sought.” They returned. Their matrons possessed a high reputation for magic. they rose to the highest rank in their councils by their supposed supernatural knowledge. entering for the fourth time. the possession of magical knowledge was an especial attribute of Odin himself. which are used in their degree of quadrupeds. informed her mistress. and to intrude themselves upon a deity. the conquerors of the Roman Empire combined them with similar articles of belief which they had brought with them from their original settlements in the North. They had found only Katla. There is a remarkable story in the Eyrbiggia Saga (“ Historia Eyranorum"). for creating illusions. and compel him to instruct them in what they desired to know. which grovelled among the ashes. the hostile party. one of whom was determined on discovering and putting to death the son of the other. such as Lucian and Apuleius. if not capable of transformations of the human body. In the northern ideas of witches there was no irreligion concerned with their lore. spinning flax from a large distaff.” Accordingly. by one in a blue mantle. by putting Oddo to death. This peculiarity in the habits of the North was so general. “ it is the sorceress Geirada. Neither are those prophetesses to be forgotten. and. or in whatever other laborious occupation belongs to the transformed state. the people of the Middle Ages ascribed to the witches of their day. they were at least able to impose such fascination on the sight of their enemies as to conceal for a period the objects of which they were in search.* This species of witchcraft is well known in Scotland as the glamour . that.

arise to the degree of HAXA. or Swabians. I have travelled through various strange countries. . “ Know this. in the contest. I therefore put my sole trust in my own strength of body and courage of soul. and the more that. engages with Mars. Olaus. for example. a circumstance which plainly shows that the mythological system of the ancient natives of the North had given to the modern language an appropriate word for distinguishing those females who had intercourse with the spiritual world. or chief priestess. and the source from which it was derived. who had fought. if not victorious. quod missile libro. not only with the sorcerers. King of Norway. Hother. the more they were detested. and have never been conquered by them. “ that I believe neither in idols nor demons. readily regarded them asdemons after their conversion to Christianity. The deities of the northern heathens underwent a similar metamorphosis. and many individual stories are told in the Sagas concerning bold champions.” who threatens ” to make a god subscribe himself a devil. Their idea of their own merely human prowess was so high. by Gaukater. either despised as impostors or feared as sorceresses. and come off unharmed. as Diomede. Nunc adsint!” And we cannot wonder that champions of such a character. they became dreaded for their power. My comrades and I profess no other religion than a perfect confidence in our own strength and invincibility in battle. a tribe to whom the others yielded the palm of valour. under the conviction that they derived it from the enemy of man. careless oftheir gods while yet acknowledged as such.” Another yet more broad answer was made to St.* It is undeniable that these Pythonesses were held in high respect while the pagan religion lasted. we learn from Cæsar. as their worship. but for that very reason they became odious so soon as the tribe was converted to Christianity. and with like success. “ I am neither Pagan nor Christian. in the Iliad. was never of a very reverential or devotional character. from respect to their supposed views into futurity. resembling that proposed by Drawcansir in the “ Rehearsal. with the more indifference.” Such chieftains were of the sect of Mezentius — “ Dextra: mihi Deus. they would not give way in fight even to the immortal gods themselves. if they pretended to retain their influence.” said Kiartan to Olaus Trigguasen. now universally used for a witch. et telum. of course. that the champions made it their boast. as we have already hinted.unusual thing to see females. from which comes the word Hexe. but with the demigods of the system.” The warriors of the North received this new impression concerning the influence of their deities. and the degree of divine inspiration which was vouchsafed to them. Such. was the idea of tbe Germans concerning the Suevi. encountered the god Thor in battle. in particular instances. Bartholsine* gives us repeated examples of the same kind. when their mythology was most generally established. They were. and have encountered many giants and monsters.

extravagant as it is. Upon such a supposition the wild fiction that follows is probablygrounded. while his faithful. because itwas a favourite fancy of theirs that. it was reckoned a heroic action to brave the anger of departedheroes by violating their tombs. the survivor shoulddescend alive into the sepulchre of his brother-in-arms. and consent tobe buried alongst with him. and piled so muchearth and stones above the spot as made a mound visible from a greatdistance. that when the soul left the body. perhaps.compelled to submit to their mere mortal strength. whom the Kiempé. The Norsemen were the more prone to these superstitions. without a word or look whichtestified regret or unwillingness to fulfil his fearful engagement.The tomb was formed after the ancient northern custom in what was calledthe age of hills. they dispersed themselves like a flock which has lost itsshepherd. But the stoutest . With this purpose a deep narrow vault was constructed. partly to attain the arms and swords ofproof with which the deceased had done their great actions. and yield to theirservice the weapons or other treasures which they guarded in theirtombs. and a century had elapsed ere a nobleSwedish rover. which was crownedwith a mound. having been slain in battle. The task of fulfilling this dreadful compactfell upon Asmund. poured forth. his companion. the change fromlife to death altered the temper of the human spirit from benignant tomalevolent. but binding them bya solemn compact. possesses something striking tothe imagination.witches. who had formed what was called a brotherhood in arms.and their annals afford numerous instances of encounters with ghosts. who took the opportunity toenter and occupy its late habitation. or perhaps. that is.the blood of victims. when it was usual to bury persons ofdistinguished merit or rank on some conspicuous spot. as alreadyhinted. rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the tomb. whoseleader determined on opening the sepulchre. that after the death of either. Assueit. its departurewas occasionally supplied by a wicked demon. He set hissoldiers to work. Years passed away after years. and soon removed the earth and stones from one side ofthe mound. tobe the apartment of the future tomb over which the sepulchral heap wasto be piled. and laid bare the entrance. the body of Assueit wasplaced in the dark and narrow house. trophies. with loud lamentation for the loss of such undauntedleaders. bound upon some high adventure and supported by a gallantband of followers. or champions. which. Thesoldiers who had witnessed this singular interment of the dead andliving. furies. Saxo Grammaticus tells us of the fame of two Norseprinces or chiefs. and then. Here they deposited arms. and fiends. arrived in the valley which took its name from thetomb of the brethren-in-arms. The story was told to the strangers. and when these rites had been duly paid.implying not only the firmest friendship and constant support during allthe adventures which they should undertake in life.To incur the highest extremity of danger became accounted a proof ofthat insuperable valour for which every Northman desired to be famed. partly because. brother-in-armsentered and sat down by the corpse. introduced into the tomb the war-horses of thechampions. in many instances.

hadfinally reduced him to the state of quiet becoming a tenant of the tomb.Having chanted the triumphant account of his contest and victory.which these champions often united with heroic strength and bravery. his sword drawn in his hand. remind us of those adopted in the Greek islands and in theTurkish provinces against the vampire. than. but became tractable when properly convened in a legal process. whenthey had obtained possession of a building. The Eyrbiggia. which. which was drawn upshortly after. a stake through his body. and the ashes dispersed to heaven. sweeping off several . calculated to introduce such persecution. with that slight exchange of darkness and twilight which constitutes night and day in these latitudes. a contagious disease arose in a family of consequence and in the neighbourhood. some one threw him from the cord. like Assueit. originally to keep it secure in the tomb. nor were amenable to the prayers of the priest or the spells of the sorcerer. It seems that no sooner was thesepulchre closed than the corpse of the slain Assueit arose from theground. and by driving. When the rope was pulled up. or the right of haunting if. whilst thatof the victor. which had endured during a wholecentury. In this manner the livingbrother waged a preternatural combat. in hopes of news from beneath. asby the talons of some wild beast. or rather against the evildemon who tenanted that champion's body. the clang of armour. when a stake was driventhrough the body. * The precautions taken against Assueit's reviving asecond time. no waydiscountenanced by the horrors of his situation. anddefended himself manfully against Assueit. A young warriorwas let down into the profound tomb by a cord. so that it was hoped his slumbers might remain undisturbed. they heard withinhorrid cries. Herushed into the open air. The body of Assueit was takenout of the tomb. and took his place in thenoose. his armour halftorn from his body.of the roversstarted back when. now lifeless and without a companion. was depositedthere. when Asmund. instead of the silence of a tomb.did not defend themselves against mortals on the knightly principle ofduel. the survivor of the brethren-in-arms. burnt. who. at last obtaining the victory. bepoured forth. The molestation was produced by the concurrence of certain mystical and spectral phenomena. instead of theircompanion. beheld Asmund. It affords also a derivation ofthe ancient English law in case of suicide. Saga acquaints us. and having first torn to piecesand devoured the horses which had been entombed with them. the soldiers. with the improvisatory poetic talent. a string of verses containing the history of his hundredyears' conflict within the tomb. threw himselfupon the companion who had just given him such a sign of devotedfriendship. exposed to a persecution of this kind. soon after the settlement of that island. that the mansion of a respectable landholder in Iceland was. The hero. But when the adventurerdescended. The Northern people also acknowledged a kind of ghosts. thismangled conqueror fell dead before them. in order to treat him in the same manner. the clash of swords. prostrated hisenemy. About the commencement of winter. inspired by some ravenous goule. took to his arms. and all thenoise of a mortal combat between two furious champions. as he boasted. the left side of his face almost scratched off. He had no sooner appeared in the light of day.

and the trial by jury. who exercised considerable influence in the island. or inquest. as she walked on foot.c. who. met with a huge waggon. rather than allow that there existed any being before whom their boldness could quail. and successfully entered into suits of ejectment. and proceeded. appeared on their being called. by name. together with her shrine. even in the stove where the fire was maintained for the general use of the inhabitants. of which we here can trace the origin. and even assaulting. By his counsel.members of the family at different times. and produce their aërial forms and wasted physiognomy. and abandon their warm seats. As the number of the dead members of the devoted household seemed to increase in proportion to that of the survivors. was travelling from one district of the country to another.* It was not only with the spirits of the dead that the warlike people of the North made war without timidity. and attractive woman. Judgment then went against the ghosts by default. those of the living family who ventured abroad. . and which. The spectres of the dead. in an Iceland winter. It chanced. the ghosts took it upon them to enter the house. than to endure the neighbourhood of the phantoms. as if to judge an ordinary civil matter. of his neighbours. But the remaining inhabitants of the place. terrified by the intrusion of these spectres. apparently was in no degree displeased with the company of a powerful and handsome young man. By a certain signal the divinity summoned the priestess to the sanctuary. seemed to threaten them all with death. to show by what warrant they disputed with him and his servants the quiet possession of his property. The traveller naturally associated himself with the priestess. and the wealthy offerings attached to it. or vanished. in their presence. like a modern caravan travelling with a show. departed. and muttering some regrets at being obliged to abandon their dwelling. a young. from the astonished inquest. as a guide and companion on the journey. constituted in the usual judicial form. and in order as summoned. good-looking. who presently . and the equipage was under the immediate guidance of the priestess of Freya. however. that the presence of the champion. But the death of these persons was attended with the singular consequence that their spectres were seen to wander in the neighbourhood of the mansion-house. Complaints were at length made to a pontiff of the god Thor. is the only comfortable place of assembling the family. screened by boards and curtains from the public gaze. in crossing a desolate ridge of mountains. obtained a triumph unknown to any of the great writers who have made it the subject of eulogy. These daring champions often braved the indignation even of the superior deities of their mythology. The shrine. terrifying. a gigantic idol formed to represent her). named Snorro. in which the goddess Freya (i. or sanctuary of the idol. Such is the singular story how a young man of high courage. and what defence they could plead for thus interfering with and incommoding the living. to cite individually the various phantoms and resemblances of the deceased members of the family. was less satisfactory to the goddess than to the parties principally concerned. chose rather to withdraw to the other extremity of the house. was. the young proprietor of the haunted mansion assembled a jury. and his discourse with the priestess.

concerning whom such stories could be told and believed. The image of Freya then fell motionless to the ground. The curtains flew open. intimated to the travellers that Freya. of course.” said the champion. The priestess. “ You must have mistaken the meaning of the goddess. The champion came in for a share of a gainful trade driven by the priestess. who.” said the champion. with tears in her eyes and terror in her countenance. a sensible recollection of the power of the axe. The priests threatened the island with a desolating eruption of the volcano called Hecla. Thor.” said the priestess. as the necessary consequence of the vengeance of their deities. took possession of the female and the baggage. as were equally difficult to parry or to endure. which advanced to such a point that a clattering noise within the tabernacle. leapt lumbering from the carriage. was. to inform her companion that it was the will of Freya that he should depart. such tremendous blows. with which he bestirred himself with so much strength and activity.returned. ever again ventured to appear in person for the purpose of calling her false stewards to account. taking care to hide the injuries which the goddess had received in the brawl. and was present on the occasion. with its wooden hands and arms. the same who advised the inquest against the ghosts. and as the conference was held on the surface of what had been . Freya. and there displayed the shrine of Freya. She accompanied him to the district whither he was travelling. dealt him. But the champion was armed with a double edged Danish axe. but being unable to compel him to obey the goddess's mandate. and their whole pagan mythology.” ” It will be at her own peril if she should be so audacious. of no deep or respectful character. thought a personal interruption of this tête-à-tête ought to be deferred no longer. and. which leads me directly on my journey. Neither does it appear that Freya. the divinity of whose patroness had been by the event of the combat sorely lessened in her eyes. that at length he split the head of the image. they again relapsed into familiarity. “ for I will try the power of this axe against the strength of beams and boards. and with a severe blow hewed off its left leg. had become a convert to the Christian religion. we may suppose. resembled in form the giant created by Frankenstein.” “ Nevertheless. was now easily induced to become the associate and concubine of the conqueror. rushing on the in trusive traveller. “ the goddess will be highly offended if you disobey her commands. having. perhaps. who perhaps had some qualities in common with the classical Vesta. where I may break my neck. The Icelanders abandoned Odin.” The priestess chid him for his impiety. and. according to the law of arms. in consideration of a single disputation between the heathen priests and the Christian missionaries. and the demon which had animated it fled yelling from the battered tenement. Snorro. The champion was now victor. as of machinery put in motion. and no longer travel in their company. nor can I conceal from you that she may personally assault you. ” Freya cannot have formed a wish so unreasonable as to desire I should abandon the straight and good road. to choose precipitous paths and by-roads. and the massive and awkward idol. besides appropriating to himself most of the treasures which the sanctuary had formerly contained. The national estimation of deities.

on the other hand. or rather hole. The Scottish Gael have an idea of the same kind. on abandoning their worship. the founders of the Scandinavian system. to consider their former deities.” We cannot attribute the transferrence of the attributes of the Northern satyr. to any particular resemblance between the character of these deities and that of Satan. and his attendants something between a man and a goat. in the rock. So that the alteration of a single word would render Pope's well-known line more truly adapted to the fact. the ourisk of the Celts was a creature by no means peculiarly malevolent or formidably powerful. affords to the wildest retreat in the romantic neighbourhood of Loch Katrine a name taken from classical superstition. to the arch-fiend. and tail. and is not the engine of vengeance intrusted to Thor and Odin. or Celtic ourisk. the ourisk has a mortal term of life and a hope of salvation. It is an idea which seems common to many nations. derived them from some common Source with those of the Greeks and Romans. the same proneness of the human mind to superstition has caused that similar ideas are adopted in different regions.a stream of lava. respecting a goblin called Ourisk . is even pretended to be proved by the evidence of Saint Anthony. the eruption of the volcano depends on natural circumstances now as it did then. If we are to identify him with the Brown Dwarf of the Border moors. to whom one is said to have appeared in the desert. before their migration from Asia. with which they have depicted the author of evil when it pleased him to show himself on earth. A species of cavern. was received among the Northern people. having obtained the seed from the others. men of Iceland. now covered with vegetable substances. the horns. which dwelt in wildernesses far removed from men. as far as can be discovered. The classical fiction. But there were some particulars of the Northern creed in which it corresponded so exactly with that of the classics as leaves room to doubt whether the original Asæ. in the light of evil demons. On the contrary. whose form is like that of Pan. had. the nether extremities being in the latter form. whose power is rather delusive than formidable. should we venture to read — “And Pan to Satan lends his heathen born. but rather a melancholy spirit. in the silvan form. for example.” It is evident that men who reasoned with so much accuracy concerning the imbecility of Odin and Thor were well prepared. The existence of a satyr. or whether. and whose supernatural pranks intimate rather a wish to inflict terror than to do hurt. It is not the least curious circumstance that from this silvan deity the modern nations of Europe have borrowed the degrading and unsuitable emblems of the goat's visage and form. “ To what was the indignation of the gods owing when the substance on which we stand was fluid and scorching? Believe me. and perhaps transferred by them to the Celtic tribes. . he answered the priests with much readiness. of whom they believed so much that was impious. as indeed the same high claim was made by the satyr who appeared to St. of the satyrs and other subordinate deities of wood and wild. hoofs. as the same plants are found in distant countries without the one. or Asiatics.

some Churchman more learned than his brethren may have transferred the legend from Sicily to Duncrune. that the wicked are described as goats in Scripture. but which we are astonished to find in an obscure district. to furnish the modern attributes ascribed to Satan in later times. and angelic character expressed by the seraph form an extraordinary contrast to the poor conception of a being who ought not. that the miller. I have heard it also told that the celebrated freebooter. once gained a victory by disguising a part of his men with goat-skins.* From this it will appear that there were originals enough in the mythology of the Goths. perhaps. is by no means. I think. and in the Celtic tongue.Anthony. and all the usual accompaniments of popular diablerie. identified with the recusant smith who fled before Fingal from Ireland to the Orkneys. on which is founded a story almost exactly like that of OUTIS in the “Odyssey. Rob Roy. and that the devil is called the old dragon. But as club-law pervaded the ancient system of Scandinavia. perhaps. and assign to the author of evil the terrible dignity of one who should seem not “less than archangel ruined. and which was called the Son of the dark brown Luno. as well as Celts. from the name of the armourer who forged it. He may be. Neither has Tasso been more happy. and demanded the Miller's name. The genius of Milton alone could discard all these vulgar puerilities. and being there overtaken. Even the genius of Guido and of Tasso have been unable to surmount this prejudice. It is related of one of these goblins which frequented a mill near the foot of Loch Lomond. when the object of painter or poet was to display him in his true form and with all his terrors. After all. who injured the machinery by setting the water on the wheel when there was no grain to be grinded. He was an armourer of extreme dexterity. Meming belonging to the Scandinavian mythology. whom it was the boast of the highest champions to seek out in the solitudes which he inhabited. perhaps. the more rooted. and was informed that he was called Myself . or Highland satyr. from the shores of the Mediterranean to those of Loch Lomond. of a character different from the ourisk. contrived to have a meeting with the goblin by watching in his mill till night. There was an individual satyr called.” a tale which. the dignity. an elegant or ingenious fiction. was compelled to forge the sword which Fingal afterwards wore in all his battles. In Raffael's famous painting of the archangel Michael binding Satan. even in that lowest degradation. and capable of being over-reached by those who understood philology. The ourisk then entered. so as to resemble the ourisk . though similar in shape. though classic. which we cannot account for. seeming to argue some connexion or communication between these remote Highlands of Scotland and the readers of Homer in former days. the High land ourisk was a species of lubber fiend. where he represents the divan of darkness in the enchanted forest as presided over by a monarch having a huge tail. Moreover. to have seemed so unworthy an antagonist. power. desiring to get rid of this meddling spirit.” This species of degradation is yet grosser when we take into consideration the changes which . hoofs. Meming had the humour of refusing to work for any customer save such as compelled him to it with force of arms. and the weapons which he forged were of the highest value.

He was brought before the judge upon a charge averring that he conjured the fruits of the earth. in his account of the parish of Melrose.” * A similar bearing has been ascribed. in a shroud sable passant. into his own possession.” * It may be worth while to notice that the word Haxa is still used in Scotland in its sense of a druidess. says. tit. or phantom. ix. it left the agriculturists of the period at liberty to use the means they thought most proper to render their fields fertile and plentiful. Pliny informs us that one Caius Furius Cresinus.” by Mr. still discernible. * See Pennant's “Scottish Tour. we must next notice another fruitful fountain of demonological fancies. * “Malæ nubent Maria. 2. There is a species of small intrenchment on the western descent of the Eildon hills. 6. * Eyrbiggia Saga. 5. Having. to those of the name of Fantome. a species of art disowned by the writers on the science. habits.popular opinions have wrought respecting the taste. 18. leading to a small glen or narrow valley called the HaxelleIeuch—both which words are probably derived from the Haxa or chief priestess . than to the powerful-minded demon who fell through pride and rebellion. in ” Northern Antiquities. for the same reason. Cresinus appeared. however. cap. a word of unknown derivation. by which the place is still known. powers. Milne. i. p. Here an universal and subsisting tradition bore that human sacrifices were of yore offered. adopted our present ideas of the devil as they are expressed by his nearest acquaintances. awakened storms. 3. modes of tempting.” lib. from the accounts of satyrs. raised larger crops from a small field than his neighbours could obtain from more ample possession. III. 8.” vol. but. * By this more ancient code. which are such as might rather be ascribed to some stupid superannuated and doting ogre of a fairy tale. Robert Kirke. to distinguish the places where such females exercised their ritual. the witches. called the Haxell-gate. 7. 1. or brought over to their barns and garners the fruits of the earth. * “Codex. The traveller mentions that some festival of the same kind was in his time observed in Gloucestershire. drawn up about eighty years ago. With this place of sacrifice communicated a path. a Roman of mean estate. as well as superior skill. not through folly or incapacity. produced by his neighbours' farms. and. Both bearings are founded on what is called canting heraldry. by good fortune. But as this source of the mythology of the Middle Ages must necessarily comprehend some account of the fairy folk. was dismissed with the highest honours. which seem to have been articles of faith both among the Celtic and Gothic tribes. and habits of tormenting. while the people assisting could be hold the ceremony from the elevation of the glacis which slopes inward. on a field azure. to whom much of it must be referred. it is necessary to make a pause before we enter upon the mystic and marvellous connexion supposed to exist between the impenitent kingdom of Satan and those merry dancers by moonlight. * See “Essay on the Subterranean Commonwealth. the punishment of death was indeed denounced against those who destroyed crops. was denominated Bourjo . who carried of old a goblin. which Mr. or chief priestess. having proved the return of his farm to be the produce of his own hard and unremitting labour. yet universally made use of by those who practise the art of blazonry. minister of Aberfoyle.

that the classics had not forgotten to enrol in their mythology a certain species of subordinate deities. but the Irish ballad.”* This relic of antiquity was discovered near Roxburgh Castle. Two rivers of considerable size. before their time. yet their pleasures empty and illusory — Addicted to carry off Human Beings. MacPherson's paraphrases. * “De causis contemptæ necis. with a wink.” lib. one which is consecrated. resembling the modern elves in their habits. and even the beauty. See “Northern Antiquities. Welsh. Dan.” lib. Diis campestribus. renowned in the wars with England. are bound to name with gratitude). and a vicinity more delightfully appropriate to the abode of the silvan deities can hardly be found. or Fins — “The Niebelungen-Lied” — King Laurin's Adventure — Celtic Fairies of a gayer character.. and even royal blood. * Eyrbiggia Saga. and Manxmen held the same belief — It was rather rendered more gloomy by the Northern Traditions — Merlin and Arthur carried off by the Fairies — Also Thomas of Erceldoune — His Amour with the Queen of Elfland — His re-appearance in latter times — Another account from Reginald Scot — Conjectures on the derivation of the word Fairy. its woods. Good old Mr. which gives a spirited account of the debate between the champion and the armourer. WE may premise by observing. made yet more remarkable by the fame which has rendered them in some sort classical. both Infants and Adults — Adventures of a Butler in Ireland — The Elves supposed to pay a Tax to Hell — The Irish. LETTER IV. noble. and usually added. and fauns with whom superstition peopled the lofty banks and tangled copses of this romantic country. by his knowledge of that noble collection. or Dwarfs — Supposed to be derived from the Northern Laps. or any spirit who. ye ken. amongst the ancient altars under his charge. of the Advocates' Library (whom all lawyers whose youth he assisted in their studies. used to point out. unite their streams beneath the vestiges of an extensive castle.” lib. These silvans. i. “The fairies. impress the mind with a sense of awe mingled with pleasure. v. “Hist. x. “Æneid. who probably derive some of their attributes from their classic predecessors. The Fairy Superstition is derived from different sources — The Classical Worship of the Silvans.of the pagans. cap 6. Highlanders. is nowhere introduced. with its terrace. or Rural Deities. and its extensive lawn — form altogether a kingdom for Oberon and Titania to reign in. were obliged to give place to deities very nearly resembling themselves in character. although more . satyrs. proved by Roman Altars discovered — The Gothic Duergar. arising out of groves of aged trees — the modern mansion of Fleurs. Gibb. might love scenery. and for the valiant. line 773 * See Saxo Grammaticus.” * The weapon is often mentioned in Mr. of which the majesty. which has been shed around and before it — a landscape ornamented with the distant village and huge abbey tower of Kelso.

and sometimes took pleasure in frustrating their objects and rendering their toil unfruitful. but that the spirits of the mine had directed him to the treasure. Dr. there seems reason to conclude that these duergar were originally nothing else than the diminutive natives of the Lappish. They were a little. who sought caverns and hiding-places from the persecution of the Asæ. In the “Niebelungen-Lied. has been generally ascribed to their race. sought the most retired regions of the North. hit upon a rich vein of ore. In fact. from their acquaintance with the changes of the clouds. Leyden. with which the country abounds. Sometimes they were malignant. with the Kobold. and there endeavoured to hide themselves from their Eastern invaders. and Finnish nations. and were often seen in the mines. naturally enough. more laborious vocation. but it was a bolder stretch of the imagination which confounded this reserved and sullen race with the livelier and gayer spirit which bears correspondence with the British fairy. from which the English goblin and the Scottish bogle. led very naturally to identify the Fin. and their inferiority in size is represented as compensated by skill and wisdom superior to those of ordinary mortals. diminutive race. a profusion of learning. and more malignant temper. it has been plausibly supposed that these poor people. spirits of a coarser sort. were in some respects compensated for inferiority in strength and stature by the art and power with which the superstition of the enemy invested them. as upon most others. by some inversion and alteration of pronunciation. with the love of music and poetry. and in all respects less propitious to humanity. According to the old Norse belief. be judges of weather. These oppressed yet dreaded fugitives obtained. however. especially if neglected or insulted. but sometimes also they were indulgent to individuals whom they took under their protection. The employment and apparent occupation of these subterranean gnomes or fiends. are certainly among the most pleasing legacies of fancy. or even luck.* These were. and so enjoy another title to supernatural skill. the inference commonly was. the character of the German spirits called Kobold. who haunted the dark and solitary places. or meteorological phenomena. flying before the conquering weapons of the Asæ. not that he possessed more skill. which were the invention of the Celtic people. are evidently derived. Perhaps also they might.immediately allied to the barbarian conquerors. as received into the popular creed. The Kobolds were a species of gnomes. At any rate. therefore. We allude to the fairies. industry. found the first idea of the elfin people in the Northern opinions concerning the duergar. Neither can we be surprised that the duergar. When a miner. who exhausted on this subject. through its various classes and modifications. than his fellow-workmen. or dwarfs. should exhibit a darker and more malignant character than the elves that revel by moonlight in more southern climates. but possessed of some skill probably in mining or smelting minerals. who. and displayed that superiority of taste and fancy which. it must be owned. than the fairies (properly so called).” one of the . these dwarfs form the current machinery of the Northern Sagas. and as described by the poets who have made use of them as machinery. or Laplander. ascribed by many persons to this source. Lettish. where they seemed to imitate the labours of the miners. which.

resembled the aerial people themselves. the amusements of the Fairy court. sometimes called subterranean people. March 12. as already hinted. and sometimes carried off his hearers. Among others vanquished by him is the Elf King. a sort of persons seldom supposed to be themselves conjurers. and forests. or Biergen-Trold — i. condemned to fill the dishonourable yet appropriate office of buffoon and juggler at the Court of Verona. valleys. dedicates a long chapter to the spectres who disturbed his congregation. was acknowledged. Their government was always represented as monarchical.. and are considered by the reverend author as something very little better than actual fiends. they were usually wantonly given and unexpectedly resumed. national poetry and song. though they behaved to those who associated with them with caprice. The Irish. whose dwelling was in an enchanted garden of roses. figures among a cycle of champions over whom he presides. Theodorick of Bern. another pronunciation of Trollds. but as he attempted by treachery to attain the victory. or by whatever other names they called these sylvan pigmies. what indeed makes a great feature of their national character. and compiled. from the remotest ages. who dates his description of Ferro from his Pathos. that they haunted the places where murders or other deeds of mortal sin had been acted. assigned to the Men of Peace. being a corruption of duergar or dwarfs . be identified with the Caledonian fairies. more social habits. like the Charlemagne of France or Arthur of England. or Scottish Highlander. to the Gothic race that we must trace the opinions concerning the elves of the middle ages.e. But it is not only. and adds. more frequently a Queen of Fairies. 1670. as also. or Trows. accounted gallant and splendid. The employment. or even chiefly. enthusiasm concerning national music and dancing. which rendered it dangerous to displease them. and sometimes both held their court together. and although their gifts were sometimes valuable. they appeared in deep caverns and among horrid rocks. or Dwarf Laurin. The actors in these disturbances he states to be the Skow . We have already observed. Their elves did not avoid the society of men. A King. At . the Welsh. than the sullen and heavy toils of the more saturnine Duergar. and a course of existence far more gay. not long after the time of Attila. when overcome. that the power of the imagination is peculiarly active among the Celts. the Gael. in Thorshaven. were deeply blended with the attributes which the Celtic tribes had. Their pageants and court entertainments comprehended all that the imagination could conceive of what was. and who had a body-guard of giants. or of Verona. it would seem. * Such possession of supernatural wisdom is still imputed by the natives of the Orkney and Zetland Islands to the people called Drows . in most other respects. all tribes of Celtic descent. the departments in which fancy most readily indulges herself. and leads to an. he is. by that age. the benefits.oldest romances of Germany. Good Neighbours. these. ascribed to their deities of rocks. He becomes a formidable opponent to Theodorick and his chivalry. They appear to have been the genuine northern dwarfs. the spirits of the woods and mountains. Lucas Jacobson Debes. and who may.

perhaps. when engaged in some unlawful action. little right.” that of carrying off their children. unsavoured by salt (prohibited to them. and invited him to join in their revel. and were accounted by most divines as belonging to a very different class. in his “Eighteenth Relation. if not to be in all respects considered as fiends. Others. and breeding them as beings of their race. on such occasions.their processions they paraded more beautiful steeds than those of mere earthly parentage — the hawks and hounds which they employed in their chase were of the first race. considering their constant round of idle occupation. exposed themselves also to become inmates of Fairyland. But when viewed by the eye of a seer the illusion vanished. “Do nothing . it may be easily conceived that the want of the sacred ceremony of introduction into the Christian church rendered them the more obnoxious to the power of those creatures. and so. With respect to the first. notwithstanding it was their natural sphere. to rank themselves among good spirits. and leaving. An adult. must have been engaged in some action which exposed him to the power of the spirits. on the other hand. One injury of a very serious nature was supposed to be constantly practised by the fairies against “the human mortals. who. It was well for the individual if the irate elves were contented. became tasteless and insipid — the stately halls were turned into miserable damp caverns — all the delights of the Elfin Elysium vanished at once. In crossing the fields. to mark the direct line of his course. Unchristened infants were chiefly exposed to this calamity. because an emblem of eternity). but a friendly voice from the party whispered in his ear. who was sent to purchase cards.” Besides the unceasing and useless bustle in which these spirits seemed to live.” Sleeping on a fairy mount.” tells us of the butler of a gentleman. Hence poets have designed them as “the crew that never rest. the board was set forth with a splendour which the proudest kings of the earth dared not aspire to. though their toil was fruitless and their pleasures shadowy and unsubstantial. and the hall of their dancers echoed to the most exquisite music. but totally unsubstantial — their activity unceasing. Glanville. had nevertheless. was a very ready mode of obtaining a pass for Elfland. we are told. they had propensities unfavourable and distressing to mortals. within which the Fairy court happened to be held for the time. he saw a table surrounded by people apparently feasting and making merry. “taken in the manner. a neighbour of the Earl of Orrery. or in the act of giving way to some headlong and sinful passion. but adults were also liable to be abstracted from earthly commerce. his hat or bonnet on some steeple between. with transporting him through the air to a city at some forty miles' distance. but fruitless and unavailing — and their condemnation appears to have consisted in the necessity of maintaining the appearance of constant industry or enjoyment. In a word. their pleasures were showy. At their daily banquets. as the legal phrase went. The same belief on these points obtained in Ireland. They rose to salute him. The young knights and beautiful ladies showed themselves as wrinkled carles and odious hags-their wealth turned into slate-stones — their splendid plate into pieces of clay fantastically twisted — and their victuals.

and at length discovered himself to be the ghost of an acquaintance who had been dead for seven years. “that if the butler had acknowledged God in all his ways. is said to be that they were under a necessity of paying to the infernal regions a yearly tribute out of their population. which it was not always safe to attempt. in spite of two bishops who were his guests at the time.” He added. They raised him in the air above the heads of the mortals. after a certain length of life. * Individuals. were sometimes surreptitiously carried off to Fairyland. but neither in this would the mortal join them. “I lived a loose life. it was all they could do to prevent the butler from being carried off bodily from amongst them by the fairies. and the company began to dance and play on musical instruments. while they were yet inhabitants of middle earth. as Alison Pearson. They then left off dancing. Upon the whole. the one of whom had been the most busy politician. in spite of the celebrated Mr. He was then left alone for the present. who could only run beneath. that they have off-spring among themselves. From this it must be inferred. were doomed to conclude their lives with them.which this company invite you to. these spirits are subject to the universal lot of mortality . We must not omit to state that those who had an intimate communication with these spirits. and unless redeemed from their power. moreover. but in spite of the exertions of my Lord Ornery.” added he. even to having seen the butler raised into the air by the invisible beings who strove to carry him off. that he was then going on an unlawful business. when he refused to join in feasting. It is pretended that Lord Orrery confirmed the whole of this story. to break his fall when they pleased to let him go. Greatrix. and shall be till the day of judgment. the table vanished. and betook themselves to work. whose lives had been engaged in intrigues of politics or stratagems of war. “You know. and. averred that she had recognised in the Fairy court the celebrated Secretary Lethington and the old Knight of Buccleuch. Kirke. with the company you saw.” Accordingly. rather than their own. were most apt to be seized upon and carried off to Elfland before their death. persons carried off by sudden death were usually suspected of having fallen into the hands of the fairies. be had not suffered so much by their means. which they were willing to defray by delivering up to the prince of these regions the children of the human race. so peculiar to the elfin people. but the butler would not take part in these recreations. The reason assigned for this kidnapping of the human race. Only he did not bear witness to the passage which seems to call the purchase of cards an unlawful errand. the sorceress who cured Archbishop Adamson. during the reign of that unfortunate queen. he reminded him that he had not prayed to God in the morning before be met with this company in the field. as it is said by some authorities. He indeed adds that. and ever since have I been hurried up and down in a restless condition. the other one of the most unwearied partisans of Queen Mary. the minister of Aberfoyle. and particularly by Mr. The spectre which formerly advised the poor man continued to haunt him. who considered him as their lawful prey.

which gave the belief. and is scarcely reconcilable to that which holds them amenable to pay a tax to hell. just at the time when it was supposed that the magic of the wizard and the celebrated sword of the monarch. is mentioned by both. contain points of curious antiquarian information — that the opinions of the Irish are conformable to the account we have given of the general creed of the Celtic nations respecting elves. If the Irish elves are anywise distinguished from those of Britain. or the wild. it seems to be by their disposition to divide into factions and fight among themselves — a pugnacity characteristic of the Green Isle. doubtless) and Herodias. could no longer avert the impending ruin. agree in the same general attributes with those of Ireland and Britain. but it is singular to remark what light the traditions of Scotland throw upon the poetry of the Britons of Cumberland. was a peculiar depository of the fairy traditions. Crofton Croker — which. perhaps. indifferently. became. Of these early times we can know little. that additional legends were obtained of a gigantic and malignant female. a darker colouring than originally belonged to the British fairyland. We know. upon the ghostly eve of AllHallow Mass. We must not omit the creed of the Manxmen. that the Isle of Man. are such as are entertained in the Highlands and some remote quarters of the Lowlands of Scotland.— a position. however. since we find. were both said by tradition to have been abstracted by the fairies. chequered with those of Scandinavia from a source peculiar and more direct than that by which they reached Scotland or Ireland. sorceresses and elves. barrister-at-law. which had done so much to preserve British independence. according to John Lewis. It was from the same source also. namely). the popular system of the Celts easily received the northern admixture of Drows and Duergar. Such as it was. who were the joint leaders of their choir. with King Arthur. It may be conjectured that there was a desire on the part of Arthur or his surviving . Waldron. on the island being conquered by the Norse. though in most cases told with the wit of the editor and the humour of his country. which. as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons. from the ingenious researches of Mr. from the lively and entertaining legends published by Mr. the Hecate of this mythology. the dubious champion of Britain at that early period. The Welsh fairies. The opinions on the subject of the fairy people here expressed. But we return to the more simple fairy belief. who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under her grim banner. in all probability. which infers existence as eternal as the fire which is not quenched. This bag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject.* In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in her triple character of Hecate. which has been controverted. in all probability. and to have vanished without having suffered death. and that renowned wizard. beyond other places in Britain. the son of an elf or fairy. Merlin Wyllt. then called Reged. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies.

champions to conceal his having received a mortal wound in the fatal battle of Camlan; and to that we owe the wild and beautiful incident so finely versified by Bishop Percy, in which, in token of his renouncing in future the use of arms, the monarch sends his attendant, sole survivor of the field, to throw his sword Excalibar into the lake hard by. Twice eluding the request, the esquire at last complied, and threw the far-famed weapon into the lonely mere. A hand and arm arose from the water and caught Excalibar by the hilt, flourished it thrice, and then sank into the lake. * The astonished messenger returned to his master to tell him the marvels he had seen, but he only saw a boat at a distance push from the land, and heard shrieks of females in agony: — “And whether the king was there or not He never knew, he never colde For never since that doleful day Was British Arthur seen on molde.” The circumstances attending the disappearance of Merlin would probably be found as imaginative as those of Arthur's removal, but they cannot be recovered; and what is singular enough, circumstances which originally belonged to the history of this famous bard, said to be the son of the Demon himself, have been transferred to a later poet, and surely one of scarce inferior name, Thomas of Erceldoune. The legend was supposed to be only preserved among the inhabitants of his native valleys, but a copy as old as the reign of Henry VII, has been recovered. The story is interesting and beautifully told, and, as one of the oldest fairy legends, may well be quoted in this place. Thomas of Erceldoune, in Lauderdale, called the Rhymer, on account of his producing a poetical romance on the subject of Tristrem and Yseult, which is curious as the earliest specimen of English verse known to exist, flourished in the reign of Alexander III. of Scotland. Like other men of talent of the period, Thomas was suspected of magic. He was said also to have the gift of prophecy, which was accounted for in the following peculiar manner, referring entirely to the elfin superstition: — As True Thomas (we give him the epithet by anticipation) lay on Huntly Bank, a place on the descent of the Eildon Hills, which raise their triple crest above the celebrated Monastery of Melrose, he saw a lady so extremely beautiful that he imagined it must be the Virgin Mary herself. Her appointments, however, were rather those of an Amazon or goddess of the woods. Her steed was of the highest beauty and spirit, and at his mane hung thirty silver bells and nine, which made music to the wind as she paced along. Her saddle was of royal bone (ivory), laid over with orfeverie — i.e., goldsmith's work. Her stirrups, her dress, all corresponded with her extreme beauty and the magnificence of her array. The fair huntress had her bow in her hand, and her arrows at her belt. She led three greyhounds in a leash, and three raches, or hounds of scent, followed her closely. She rejected and disclaimed the homage which Thomas desired to pay to her; so that, passing from one extremity to the other, Thomas became as bold as he had at first been humble. The lady warns him that he must become her slave if he should prosecute his suit towards her in the manner he proposes. Before their interview terminates, the appearance of the beautiful lady is changed into that of the

most hideous hag in existence. One side is blighted and wasted, as if by palsy; one eye drops from her head; her colour, as clear as the virgin silver, is now of a dun leaden hue. A witch from the spital or almshouse would have been a goddess in comparison to the late beautiful huntress. Hideous as she was, Thomas's irregular desires had placed him under the control of this hag, and when she bade him take leave of sun, and of the leaf that grew on tree, he felt himself under the necessity of obeying her. A cavern received them, in which, following his frightful guide, he for three days travelled in darkness, sometimes hearing the booming of a distant ocean, sometimes walking through rivers of blood, which crossed their subterranean path. At length they emerged into daylight, in a most beautiful orchard. Thomas, almost fainting for want of food, stretches out his hand towards the goodly fruit which hangs around him, but is forbidden by his conductress, who informs him these are the fatal apples which were the cause of the fall of man. He perceives also that his guide had no sooner entered this mysterious ground, and breathed its magic air, than she was revived in beauty, equipage, and splendour, as fair, or fairer, than he had first seen her on the mountain. She then commands him to lay his head upon her knee, and proceeds to explain to him the character of the country. “Yonder righthand path,” she says, “conveys the spirits of the blessed to Paradise; yon downward and well-worn way leads sinful souls to the place of everlasting punishment; the third road, by yonder dark brake, conducts to the milder place of pain from which prayer and mass may release offenders. But see you yet a fourth road, sweeping along the plain to yonder splendid castle ? Yonder is the road to Elfland, to which we are now bound. The lord of the castle is king of the country, and I am his queen. But, Thomas, I would rather be drawn with wild horses, than he should know what hath passed between you and me. Therefore, when we enter yonder castle, observe strict silence, and answer no question that is asked at you, and I will account for your silence by saying I took your speech when I brought you from middle earth.” Having thus instructed her lover, they journeyed on to the castle, and entering by the kitchen, found themselves in the midst of such a festive scene as might become the mansion of a great feudal lord or prince. Thirty carcases of deer were lying on the massive kitchen board, under the hands of numerous cooks, who tolled to cut them up and dress them, while the gigantic greyhounds which had taken the spoil lay lapping the blood, and enjoying the sight of the slain game. They came next to the royal hall, where the king received his loving consort without censure or suspicion. Knights and ladies, dancing by threes (reels perhaps), occupied the floor of the hall, and Thomas, the fatigues of his journey from the Eildon hills forgotten, went forward and joined in the revelry. After a period, however, which seemed to him a very short one, the queen spoke with him apart, and bade him prepare to return to his own country. “Now,” said the queen, “how long think you that you have been here ? “Certes, fair lady,” answered Thomas, “not above these seven days.” “You are deceived,” answered the queen, “you have been seven years in this castle; and it is full time you were gone. Know, Thomas, that the fiend of hell will come to this castle to-morrow to demand his tribute, and so

handsome a man as you will attract his eye. For all the world would I not suffer you to be betrayed to such a fate; therefore up, and let us be going.” These terrible news reconciled Thomas to his departure from Elfin land, and the queen was not long in placing him upon Huntly bank, where the birds were singing. She took a tender leave of him, and to ensure his reputation, bestowed on him the tongue which could not lie . Thomas in vain objected to this inconvenient and involuntary adhesion to veracity, which would make him, as lie thought, unfit for church or for market, for kings court or for lady's bower. But all his remonstrances were disregarded by the lady, and Thomas the Rhymer, whenever the discourse turned on the future, gained the credit of a prophet whether he would or not; for be could say nothing but what was sure to come to pass. It is plain that had Thomas been a legislator instead or a poet, we have here the story of Numa and Egeria. Thomas remained several years in his own tower near Erceldoune, and enjoyed the fame of his predictions, several of which are current among the country people to this day. At length, as the prophet was entertaining the Earl of March in his dwelling, a cry of astonishment arose in the village, on the appearance of a hart and hind,* which left the forest and, contrary to their shy nature, came quietly onward, traversing the village towards the dwelling of Thomas. The prophet instantly rose from the board; and, acknowledging the prodigy as the summons of his fate, he accompanied the hart and hind into the forest, and though occasionally seen by individuals to whom he has chosen to show himself, has never again mixed familiarly with mankind. Thomas of Erceldoune, during his retirement, has been supposed, from time to time, to be levying forces to take the field in some crisis of his country's fate. The story has often been told of a daring horse-jockey having sold a black horse to a man of venerable and antique appearance, who appointed the remarkable hillock upon Eildon hills, called the Lucken-hare, as the place where, at twelve o'clock at night, he should receive the price. He came, his money was paid in ancient coin, and he was invited by his customer to view his residence. The trader in horses followed his guide in the deepest astonishment through several long ranges of stalls, in each of which a horse stood motionless, while an armed warrior lay equally still at the charger's feet. “All these men,” said the wizard in a whisper, “will awaken at the battle of Sheriffmoor.” At the extremity of this extraordinary depôt hung a sword and a born, which the prophet pointed out to the horse-dealer as containing the means of dissolving the spell. The man in confusion took the horn, and attempted to wind it. The horses instantly started in their stalls, stamped, and shook their bridles, the men arose and clashed their armour, and the mortal, terrified at the tumult he had excited, dropped the horn from his hand. A voice like that of a giant, louder even than the tumult around, pronounced these words: — “Woe to the coward that ever he was born, That did not draw the sword before he blew the horn !” A whirlwind expelled the horse-dealer from the cavern, the entrance to which he could

war and bloodshed. So he turned back with me. After much travel I asked him where he dwelt and what his name was. But it is a circumstance worth notice. and act as tutelary and guardian spirits to the places which they loved while in the flesh. I told him of my horse. “But more particularly to illustrate this conjecture. of a quality more permanent than usual had not favoured us with an account of an impress s valuable to medalists. and was in his lifetime accounted as a prophet or predicter by the assistance of sublunary spirits. “I could name a person who hath lately appeared thrice since his decease. but not attaining my price. I upon my horse. and proceeded with me so far that the price was agreed upon.” said he. in the very place where I first met him.never again find. seems to have given some weight to the belief of those who thought that the spirits of famous men do. perceiving we were on a road which I never had been on before. He told me that his dwelling was a mile off. and countries. yet a similar story appears to have been current during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. whom he began to cheapen. take up some particular habitations near cities. “to sell a horse at the next market own. A moral might be perhaps extracted from the legend — namely. as I returned home by the I met this man. that it is best to be armed against danger before bidding it defiance. on we went till he brought me under ground. though I knew all the country round about. and how affairs moved through the country. and told me that if I would go along with him I should receive my money. The narrative is edifying as peculiarly illustrative of the mode of marring a curious tale in telling it. It is not the less edifying. did also give strange predictions respecting famine and plenty. who began to be familiar with me. by the very mention of the Sheriffmoor.” &c. into the presence of a beautiful woman.” says he. after death. where I saw above six hundred men in armour laid prostrate on the ground as if asleep. towns. It is a great pity that this horse-dealer. incredulous on the subject of witchcraft. At last I found myself in the open field by the help of the moonlight. at a place called Farran . withal. Reginald Scot. which increased my fear and amazement more. On our way we went. * He also told me that he himself was that person of the family of Learmonths so much spoken of as a prophet. asking what news. and now. at his appearance. that although this edition of the tale is limited to the year 1715. But the money I had received was just double of what I esteemed it when the woman paid me. I answered as I thought fit. and the end of the world. and he on another milk-white east. At which I began to be somewhat fearful. I knew not how. of which place I had never heard. Well. the last of his appearances was in the following manner: — “I had been. consisting of ninepennies. By the information of the person that had communication with him. which is given by Reginald Scot. at least some ghostly being or other that calls itself by the name of such a person who was dead above a hundred years ago. having specimens of the fairy coin. as we are deprived of the more picturesque parts . He conducted me out again through a large and long entry. thirteen pence-halfpennies. of which at this instant I have several pieces to show. and made a shift to get home by three in the morning. which was one of the virtues professed by Caius when he hired himself to King Lear. who paid the money without a word speaking.

not to our fairies. in other instances. to the east of Melrose. though these terms. in the neighbourhood of the village of Newstead.” . by the late learned Henry Weber. Leyden. are established both by history and records. a quality which they affected on all occasions. from its being the first and most distinguished instance of a man alleged to have obtained supernatural knowledge by means of the fairies. within these few weeks. forming another instance how much the wild and silvan character of the country disposed the feelings of the Romans to acknowledge the presence of the rural deities. It must be owned. that the words fay and fairy may have been mere adoptions of the French fee and feerie. * “Sadducismus Triumphatus. we cannot term it altogether laudable. * Another altar of elegant form and perfectly preserved. of “A Lay on this subject of King Laurin. The altar is preserved of Drygrange. Tod. in the “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. The beautiful lady who bore the purse must have been undoubtedly the Fairy Queen. was certainly one among the earliest of its versifiers. I have dwelt at some length on the story of Thomas the Rhymer. we may say has not as yet been very clearly established. It is the opinion of the learned that the Persian word Peri. We hesitate to ascribe either to the Persians or the Arabians the distinguishing name of an ideal commonwealth. expressing an unearthly being. and its date. they called the fays “men of peace. while the superstition of the Scottish was likely enough to give them a name which might propitiate the vanity for which they deemed the race remarkable. but with the far different Fata of the Italians. But the legend is still more curious. and the whole brought into its present form by the author.” and by other titles of the like import. “Northern Antiquities.of the story.” of which many of the materials were contributed by Dr. But this is a question which we willingly leave for the decision of better etymologists than ourselves. Still there is something uncertain in this etymology. will afford the best derivation. seems yet to have borne a faithful and firm character. dug up near the junction of the Leader and the Tweed. if we suppose it to have reached Europe through the medium of the Arabians. the prefect of the twentieth legion. just as. 1814.” “good neighbours. in whose alphabet the letter P does not exist. and who. therefore. was. to learn that Thomas's payment was as faithful as his prophecies. as the oldest tradition of the kind which has reached us in detail.” Edinburgh. tempted to suppose that the elves may have obtained their most frequent name from their being par excellence a fair or comely people. the notion of which they certainly did not contribute to US. to the god Sylvanus. like that of his own heroine Yseult. It was inscribed by Carrius Domitianus. on the other side of the Channel. * See an abstract. have reference to a class of spirits corresponding. though. so that they pronounce the word Feri instead of Peri. whose existence. of a species very similar. and as pretending to show the fate of the first Scottish poet.” complied by Henry of Osterdingen. * See the essay on the Fairy Superstition. whose affection. if we consider him as writing in the Anglo-Norman language. Whence or how this singular community derived their more common popular name. Some are. the seat of Mr. at the same time.

with an account of whose legend I concluded last letter.” * This last circumstance seems imitated from a passage in the “Life of Merlin” by Jeffrey of Monmouth. they might flatter themselves. for the purpose of satisfying their own wishes. p. the poor wretches hoped.. devils. The Learmonths of Dairsie. though having at least as many opportunities of information. and other supernatural powers. * See “Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy. TO return to Thomas the Rhymer. nor would it. p. and the like. being naturally desirous to screen their own impostures. In popular tradition. Those who dealt in fortune-telling. of his Intercourse with the Fairies — Trial and Confession of Isobel Gowdie — Use of Elf-arrow Heads — Parish of Aberfoyle — Mr. “Discourse of Devils and Spirits appended to the Discovery of Witchcraft. that they held communion with a . claimed descent from the prophet. might. William Sympson-Trial of the Lady Fowlis. a race which might be described by negatives. LETTER V. to tell fortunes.” by Reginald Scot. Grahame's interesting Work. Esq. A confession of direct communication and league with Satan. 73. 19. Edinburgh. Thome Reid-Trial of Alison Pearson — Account of her Familiar. became the common apology of those who attempted to cure diseases. or revenge. the name of Thomas the Rhymer was always averred to be Learmonth. be considered as any criminal alliance. Kirke. to revenge injuries. though he neither uses it himself. a Juggler. in Fife. being neither angels. Those who practised the petty arts of deception in such mystic cases. nor the souls of deceased men. it would seem that the example which it afforded of obtaining the gift of prescience. See Ellis's “Ancient Romances. and his Information on Fairy Superstitions — Story of a Female in East Lothian carried off by the Fairies — Another instance from Pennant. and of Hector Munro. by means of the fairy people. 1790. 3. book ii. the Minister of Aberfoyle's Work on Fairy Superstitions — He is himself taken to Fairyland — Dr. curiosity. mystical cures by charms. sec.” Vol. nor is described by his son other than Le Rymour.by Joseph Glanville.” * See “Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. her Stepson — Extraordinary species of Charm used by the latter-Confession of John Stewart. or to engage in traffic with the invisible world. i. often claimed an intercourse with Fairyland Hudhart or Hudikin — Pitcairn's “Scottish Criminal Trials” — Story of Bessie Dunlop and her Adviser — Her Practice of Medicine — And of Discovery of Theft — Account of her Familiar. 131. * In this the author is in the same ignorance as his namesake Reginald. though the accused were too frequently compelled by torture to admit and avow such horrors. or those of others. were willing to be supposed to derive from the fairies. or from mortals transported to fairyland the power necessary to effect the displays of art which they pretended to exhibit. chap. be avoided by the avowal of a less disgusting intercourse with sublunary spirits.

for laudable. and at once ensuring condemnation in this world. and not with the actual demon. she answered Hudhart had told her. in short. a looking-glass.race not properly hostile to man. alike anxious to establish the possibility of a harmless process of research into futurity. might perhaps have forfeited his life before he established the reputation of his drop. The details of the evidence. was the manner in which the persons accused of witchcraft most frequently endeavoured to excuse themselves. to whom the Scots assigned rather more serious influence. When James I. Accordingly. or some other local place of abode. others pretended to possess spells. or at least innocent objects. occurs in the early part of a work to which I have been exceedingly obliged in the present and other publications. was murdered at Perth in 1411. or at least to alleviate the charges brought against them of practising sorcery. which might either be the with Hudkin. such as remarkable cures by mysterious remedies. as well as the numbers who had it in view to dupe such willing clients. Some endeavoured to predict a man's fortune in marriage or his success in life by the aspect of the stars. Sometimes the soothsayers. The most special account which I have found of the intercourse between Fairyland and a female professing to have some influence in that court. and the proprietor of a patent medicine who should in those days have attested his having. and other wizards. on certain conditions. to be useful and friendly to him. as healing diseases and the like. Such an intercourse was certainly far short of the witch's renouncing her salvation. wrought such miracles as we see sometimes advertised. But the Scottish law did not acquit those who accomplished even praiseworthy actions. a Highland woman prophesied the course and purpose of the conspiracy. and confine her there by the power of an especial charm. or moved by any of the numberless uses for which men seek to look into futurity. became both cheated and cheaters. the credulous. were anxious obtain superhuman assistance. it might have bee disconcerted. but the species of evasion now under our investigation is that of the fanatics or impostors who pretended to draw information from the equivocal spirits called fairies. combined with a strong desire to be useful to the distressed of both sexes. who. and the number of instances before us is so great as induces us to believe that the pretence of communicating with Elfland. in opposition to that black art exclusively and directly derived from intercourse with Satan. and interfered in the fate o nations. and had she been listened to. in search of health. which consists chiefly of the unfortunate woman's own . conjuring her to abide and answer the questions of her master. knowledge. delivering herself personally to the devil. and willing. greatness. who pretended to act on this information from sublunary spirits. or pill. soared to higher matters than the practice of physic. together with the like doom in the next. as it was called. by which they could reduce and compel an elementary spirit to enter within a stone. Of these we shall afterwards say something. elixir. Being asked her source of knowledge. of the existence of white magic. a Dutch spirit somewhat similar to Friar Rush or Robin Goodfellow. * or with the red-capped demon so powerful in the case of Lord Soulis.

confession, are more full than usual, and comprehend some curious particulars. To spare technical repetitions, I must endeavour to select the principal facts in evidence in detail, so far as they bear upon the present subject. On the 8th November, 1576, Elizabeth or Bessie Dunlop, spouse to Andro Jak, in Lyne, in the Barony of Dalry, Ayrshire, was accused of sorcery and witchcraft and abuse of the people. Her answers to the interrogatories of the judges prosecutors ran thus: It being required of her by what art she could tell of lost goods or prophesy the event of illness, she replied that of herself she had no knowledge or science of such matters, but that when questions were asked at her concerning such matters, she was in the habit of applying to one Thome Reid, who died at the battle of Pinkie (10th September, 1547), as he himself affirmed, and who resolved her any questions which she asked at him. This person she described as a respectable elderly-looking man, grey-bearded, and wearing a grey coat, with Lombard sleeves of the auld fashion. A pair of grey breeches and white stockings gartered above the knee, a black bonnet on his head, close behind and plain before, with silken laces drawn through the lips thereof, and a white wand in his hand, completed the description of what we may suppose a respectable-looking man of the province and period. Being demanded concerning her first interview with this mysterious Thome Reid, she gave rather an affecting account of the disasters with which she was then afflicted, and a sense of which perhaps aided to conjure up the imaginary counsellor. She was walking between her own house and the yard of Monkcastle, driving her cows to the common pasture, and making heavy moan with herself, weeping bitterly for her cow that was dead, her husband and child that were sick of the land-ill (some contagious sickness of the time), while she herself was in a very infirm state, having lately borne a child. On this occasion she met Thome Reid for the first time, who saluted her courteously, which she returned: “Sancta Maria, Bessie !” said the apparition, “why must thou make such dole and weeping for any earthly thing?” “Have I not reason for great sorrow,” said she, “since our property is going to destruction, my husband is on the point of death, my baby will not live, and I am myself at a weak point ? Have I not cause to have a sore heart?” “Bessie,” answered the spirit, “thou hast displeased God in asking something that thou should not, and I counsel you to amend your fault. I tell thee, thy child shall die ere thou get home; thy two sheep shall also die; but thy husband shall recover and be as well and feir as ever he was.” The good woman was something comforted to hear that her husband was be spared in such her general calamity, but was rather alarmed to see her ghostly counsellor pass from her a disappear through a hole in the garden wall, seemingly too narrow to admit of any living person passing through it. Another time he met her at the Thorn of Dawmstarnik, and showed his ultimate purpose by offering her plenty of every thing if she would but deny Christendom and the faith she took at the font-stone. She answered, that rather than do that she would be torn at horses' heels, but that she would be conformable to his advice in less matters. He parted with her in some displeasure. Shortly afterwards he appeared in her own house about

noon, which was at the time occupied by her husband and three tailors. But neither Andrew Jak nor the three tailors were sensible of the presence of the phantom warrior who was slain at Pinkie; so that, without attracting their observation, he led out goodwife to the end of the house near the kiln. Here showed her a company of eight women and four men. The women were busked in their plaids, and very seemly. The strangers saluted her, and said, “Welcome, Bessie; wilt thou go with us ?” But Bessie was silent, as Thome Reid had previously recommended. After this she saw their lips move, but did not understand what they said; and in a short time they removed from thence with a hideous ugly howling sound, like that of a hurricane. Thome Reid then acquainted her that these were the good wights (fairies) dwelling in the court of Elfland, who came to invite her to go thither with them. Bessie answered that, before she went that road, it would require some consideration. Thome answered, “Seest thou not me both meat-worth, clothes-worth, and well enough in person?” and engaged she should be easier than ever she was. But she replied, she dwelt with her husband and children, and would not leave them; to which Thome Reid “replied, in very ill-humour, that if such were her sentiments, she would get little good of him. Although they thus disagreed on the principal object of Thome Reid's visits, Bessie Dunlop affirmed he continued to come to her frequently, and assist her with his counsel; and that if any one consulted her about the ailments of human beings or of cattle, or the recovery of things lost and stolen, she was, by the advice of Thome Reid, always able 16 answer the querists. She was also taught by her (literally ghostly) adviser how to watch the operation of the ointments he gave her, and to presage from them the recovery or death of the patient. She said Thome gave her herbs with his own hand, with which she cured John jack's bairn and Wilson's of the Townhead. She also was helpful to a waitingwoman of the young Lady Stanley, daughter of the Lady Johnstone, whose disease, according to the opinion of the infallible Thome Reid, was “a cauld blood that came about her heart,” and frequently caused her to swoon away. For this Thome mixed a remedy as generous as the balm of Gilead itself. It was composed of the most potent ale, cocted with spices and a little white sugar, to be drunk every morning before taking food. For these prescriptions Bessie 'Dunlop's fee was a peck of meal and some cheese. The young woman recovered. But the poor old Lady Kilbowie could get no help for her leg, which had been crooked for years; for Thome Reid said the marrow of the limb was perished and the blood benumbed, so that she would never recover, and if she sought further assistance, it would be the worse for her. These opinions indicate common sense and prudence at least, whether we consider them as originating with the umquhile Thome Reid, or with the culprit whom he patronized. The judgments given in the case of stolen goods were also well chosen; for though they seldom led to recovering the property, they generally alleged such satisfactory reasons for its not being found as effectually to cover the credit of the prophetess. Thus Hugh Scott' cloak could not be returned, because the thieves had gained time to make it into a kirtle. James Jarmieson. and James Baird would, by her advice, have recovered their plough-irons, which had

been stolen, had it not been the will of fate that William Dougal, sheriff's officer, one of the parties searching for them, should accept a bribe of three pounds not to find them. In short, although she lost a lace which Thome Reid gave her out of his own band, which, tied round women in childbirth, had the power of helping their delivery, Bessy Dunlop's profession of a wise woman seems to have flourished indifferently well till it drew the evil eye of the law upon her. More minutely pressed upon the subject of her familiar, she said she had never known him while among the living, but was aware that the person so calling himself was one who had, in his lifetime, actually been known in middle earth as Thome Reid, officer to the Laird of Blair, and who died at Pinkie. Of this she was made certain, because he sent her on errands to his son, who had succeeded in his office, and to others his relatives, whom be named, and commanded them to amend certain trespasses which he had done while alive, furnishing her with sure tokens by which they should know that it was he who had sent her. One of these errands was somewhat remarkable. She was to remind a neighbour of some particular which she was to recall to his memory by the token that Thome Reid and he had set out together to go to the battle which took place on the Black Saturday; that the person to whom the message was sent was inclined rather to move in a different direction, but that Thome Reid heartened him to pursue his journey, and brought him to the Kirk of Dalry, where he bought a parcel of figs, and made a present of them to his companion, tying them in his handkerchief; after which they kept company till they came to the field upon the fatal Black Saturday, as the battle of Pinkie was long called. Of Thome's other habits, she said that he always behaved with the strictest propriety, only that he pressed her to go to Elfland with him, and took hold of her apron as if to pull her along. Again, she said she had seen him in public places, both in the churchyard at Dalry and on the street of Edinburgh, where be walked about among other people, and handled goods that were exposed to sale, without attracting any notice. She herself did not then speak to him, for it was his command that, upon such occasions, she should never address him unless he spoke first to her. In his theological opinions, Mr. Reid appeared to lean to the Church of Rome, which, indeed, was most indulgent to the fairy folk. He said that the new law, i.e., the Reformation, was not good, and that the old faith should return again, but not exactly as it had been before. Being questioned why this visionary sage attached himself to her more than to others, the accused person replied, that when she was confined in childbirth of one of her boys, a stout woman came into her but, and sat down on a bench by her bed, like a mere earthly gossip; that she demanded a drink, and was accommodated accordingly; and thereafter told the invalid that the child should die, but that her husband, who was then ailing, should recover. This visit seems to have been previous to her meeting Thome Reid near Monkcastle garden, for that worthy explained to her that her stout visitant was Queen of Fairies, and that he had since attended her by the express command of that lady, his queen and mistress. This reminds us of the extreme doting attachment which the Queen of the Fairies is

dealing with charms and abusing the ignorant people. mirth. by a man of Egypt (a Gipsy). although his affection to her was apparently entirely platonic — the greatest familiarity on which he ventured was taking hold of her gown as he pressed her to go with him to Elfland. and when she refused. that he remained there twelve years. He often requested her to go with him on his return to Fairyland. near the eastern port of Edinburgh). and said she would repent it. he shook his head. Against this poor woman her own confession. On this the green man departed. 1588. This was her relative. in Byrehill. who were performing one of their cavalcades upon earth. and against her will she was obliged to pass with them farther than she could tell. who carried him to Egypt along with him. that the sound swept past her and seemed to rush into the lake with a hideous rumbling noise. But he afterwards appeared to her with many men and women with him. All this while she saw nothing.” Thome Reid attended her. and said if she would be faithful he might do her good. who she affirmed was a great scholar and doctor of medicine. In reply she charged him. If the delicacy of the reader's imagination be a little hurt at imagining the elegant Titania in the disguise of a stout woman. The intervention of Thome Reid as a partner in her trade of petty sorcery did not avail poor Bessie Dunlop. and that a green man came to her. William Sympson. The sad words on the margin of the record. William had been taken away. where . was. and that his father died in the meantime for opening a priest's book and looking upon it.represented to have taken for Dapper in “The Alchemist. Alison Pearson had also a familiar in the court of Elfland. was the principal evidence. if he came for her soul's good to tell his errand. as in the case of Bessie Dunlop. in the name of God and by the law he lived upon. her cousin and her mother's brother's son. specially in the vision of one Mr. She further confessed that one day as she passed through Grange Muir she lay down in a fit of sickness. As Bessie Dunlop had Thome Reid. She declared that she had renewed her acquaintance with her kinsman so soon as he returned. summoned thrice. also that she accompanied them into Lothian. William Sympson aforesaid. a heavy burden for a clumsy bench. tried for invocation of the spirits of the devil. Alison Pearson. “Convict and burnt. the following description of the fairy host may come more near the idea he has formed of that invisible company: — Bessie Dunlop declared that as she went to tether her nag by the side of Restalrig Loch (Lochend. she said. 28th May. whose father was king's smith in that town.” sufficiently express the tragic conclusion of a curious tale. and good cheer. drinking what at Christopher Sly would have called very sufficient smallbeer with a peasant's wife. with piping. on being. Neither did it avail her that the petty sorcery which she practised was directed to venial or even beneficial purposes. she heard a tremendous sound of a body of riders rushing past her with such a noise as if heaven and earth would come together. and appeared to her very often within four years. it would seem. but Thome Reid showed her that the noise was occasioned by the wights. born in Stirling.

which she gratified by forming a scheme for compassing his death by unlawful arts.she saw puncheons of wine with tasses or drinking-cups. poison so strong that a page tasting of it immediately took sickness. did not give better shelter to her than Thome Reid had done to her predecessor. Archbishop of St. which died in consequence. She declared that when she told of these things she was sorely tormented. if the indictment had a syllable of truth. they practised their supposed art exclusively for the advantage of mankind. by birth Katherine Ross of Balnagowan. and that her cousin Sympson confessed that every year the tithe of them were taken away to hell. and chief of the warlike clan of Munro. At other times they spoke her fair. Lady Fowlis. The margin of the court-book again bears the melancholy and brief record. upon one occasion. Lady Fowlis. besides making pictures or models in clay. Her proposed advantage in this was. and from which we learn that Lethington and Buccleuch were seen by Dame Pearson in the Fairy-land. and. “Convicta et combusta. stamped with an infamous celebrity as witches.* This poor woman's kinsman.” The two poor women last mentioned are the more to be pitied as. eldest son of her husband. Andrews. and promised her that she should never want if faithful. There is a very severe libel on him for this and other things unbecoming his order. should marry with her brother. the present Lady Balnagowan. According to the belief of the time. Purpose. She declared that when a whirlwind blew the fairies were commonly there. this Alison Pearson transferred the bishop's indisposition from himself to a white palfrey. of high rank. Sympson. and drinking out at two draughts a quart of claret. they threatened to martyr her. and who sought to familiars for more baneful purposes. and how to apply them. she said. medicated with the drugs she recommended. had a stepmother's quarrel with Robert Munro. by which they hoped to bewitch Robert Munro and Lady Balnagowan. carried on her practices with the least possible disguise. that the widow of Robert. and that he lets her know when they are coming. Sometimes. George Ross of Balnagowan. who was the fifteenth Baron of Fowlis. She assembled persons of the lowest order. swallowed the prescriptions of this poor hypochondriac with good faith and will. they came in such fearful forms as frightened her very much. The following extraordinary detail involves persons of far higher quality. created by James VI. She said William Sympson is with tile fairies. and that he taught her what remedies to use. and had not seen tile queen for seven years. an excellent divine and accomplished scholar. but if she told of them and their doings. when he was thus removed. Another earthen jar (Scotticè pig ) of the same deleterious liquor was prepared by the . whether enthusiasts or impostors. and received a blow that took away the power of her left side. The celebrated Patrick Adamson. Katherine Munro. with which he was charged. notwithstanding that she was sometimes in disgrace there. both by her own family and that of her husband. She also confessed that she had seen before sunrise the good neighbours make their salves with pans and fires. they brewed. and left on it an ugly mark which had no feeling. and for this. eating a stewed fowl. was also to be removed. She also boasted of her favour with the Queen of Elfland and the good friends she hadat that court. her sister-in-law.

which sheep and cattle abhorred to touch. Hector. The messenger having stumbled in the dark. refusing to receive any of his other friends till he saw the substitute whom he destined to take his place in the grave. which seemed singular when compared with the anxiety he had displayed to see his brother. shot two shafts at the image of Lady Balnagowan. Many similar acts of witchcraft and of preparing poisons were alleged against Lady Fowlis. After ascertaining that the operation of the charm on George Munro. carrying spades with them. to whom this family appears to have been partial. Christian Neil Dalyell. Hector. Her son-in-law. having less sense than the brute beasts. Lady Fowlis made use of the artillery of Elfland in order to destroy her stepson and sister-in-law. being. till his brother broke silence and asked. and of his own fostermother. the chief priestess or Nicneven of the company. but the nurse. Hector Munro. He did not speak for the space of an hour. one of the assistant hags. but accounted by the superstitious the weapons by which the fairies were wont to destroy both man and beast. upon a piece of land which formed the boundary betwixt two proprietors. for reasons of his own. should be suspended for a time. the patient. called Marion MacIngarach. the points of flint used for arming the ends of arrow-shafts in the most ancient times. the destined victim. The time being January. in fact. being taken ill. It was agreed that the vicarious substitute for Hector must mean George Munro. active in a similar conspiracy against the life of his own brother. by advice of a notorious witch. it seems. and three against the picture of Robert Munro. an assistant hag. the conspirators proceeded to work their spell in a singular. Hector sent at least seven messengers for this young man.” and relapsed into silence. by which shots they were broken. Hector Munro. The grave was made as nearly as possible to the size of their patient Hector Munro. received him with peculiar coldness and restraint. The rites that he practised were of an uncouth. was. What is more to our present purpose. broke the jar. and tasting of the liquor which had been spilled. and a rank grass grew on the spot where it fell. unique manner. The pictures of the intended victims were then set up at the north end of the apartment. and unusual nature. and Christian Ross Malcolmson. produced two of what the common people call elf-arrow heads. went forth with her accomplices.Lady Fowlis. After midnight the sorceress Marion MacIngarach. accompanied with all who were entrusted with the secret. Laskie Loncart. to avoid suspicion. a necessary part of the spell. was borne forth in a pair of blankets. The answer was unanimous that he must die unless the principal man of his blood should suffer death in his stead. one of his stepmother's prosecutors. “That he was the better George had come to visit him. who were warned to be strictly . barbarous. the earth dug out of the grave being laid aside for the time. and sent with her own nurse for the purpose of administering it to Robert Munro. and. When George at length arrived. They then proceeded to dig a grave not far from the seaside. consulted on his case some of the witches or soothsayers. presently died. I believe. 1588. and Lady Fowlis commanded new figures to be modelled. but it was. brother to him by the half-blood (the son of the Katherine Lady Fowlis before commemorated). “How he did?” Hector replied. impressive.

he met with the King of the Fairies and his company. which he wanted for the space of three years. This form of incantation was thrice repeated ere Mr. The consequence of a process which seems ill-adapted to produce the former effect was that Hector Munro recovered. called a vagabond. and after the intervention of twelve months George Munro. Pitcairn remarks that the juries. He pointed out the spot of his forehead on which. the Hecate of the night. leading a boy in her hand. the Lady Katharine and her stepson Hector had both the unusual good fortune to be found not guilty. and evaded. and the deceased being only taken ill of his fatal disease in April 1590. he said. Hector took the principal witch into high favour. 1588. that they met every Hallow-tide. demanded of the witch which victim she would choose. being blindfolded. he being travelling on All-Hallow Even night. and that the King of the Fairies gave him a stroke with a white rod over the forehead. has all the appearance of having been packed on purpose for acquittal. and remained with them all the night. Marion MacIngarach. It might also. Mr. they pricked the spot with a large pin. in Galway. and. It being demanded of him by what means he professed himself to have knowledge of things to come. and that since that time he had joined these people every Saturday at seven o'clock. Hector was removed from his chilling bed in a January grave and carried home. died. it is said. whereof he expressed no sense or feeling. but professing skill in palmistry and jugglery. and that he was then taught by them. in Ireland. creep into the heads of Hector Munro's assize that the enchantment being performed in January. to sink or cast away a vessel belonging to her own good brother. at the town of Dublin. to present her to trial when charged at Aberdeen to produce her. sometimes on Kilmaurs Hill. which took from him the power of speech and the use of one eye. while Christian Neil Dalyell.* Another instance of the skill of a sorcerer being traced to the instructions of the elves is found in the confession of John Stewart. also. coming again to the grave where Hector Munro was interred alive. ran the breadth of about nine ridges distant. perhaps). Hector Munro was carried to his grave and laid therein. or Dein. made her keeper of his sheep. who replied that she chose Hector to live and George to die in his stead. and accused of having assisted Margaret Barclay. the said John confessed that the space of twenty-six years ago. the foster-mother. being composed of subordinate persons not suitable to the rank or family of the person tried. sometimes on Lanark Hill (Tintock. whereupon the prisoner. the King of the Fairies struck him with a white rod. on an Hallowe'en night. in some interval of good sense. the distance between the events might seem too great to admit the former being regarded as the cause of the latter. all remaining mute as before. between the towns of Monygoif (so spelled) and Clary. then sat down by the grave. He declared that the use of speech and eyesight was restored to him by the King of Fairies and his company. that he . and the grave secured with stakes as at a real funeral. Though one or two inferior persons suffered death on account of the sorceries practised in the house of Fowlis. his brother. He made the usual declaration. the earth being filled in on him.silent till the chief sorceress should have received her information from the angel whom they served.

The witches bestrode either corn-straws. bean-stalks. had the immediate agency in the abominations which she narrates. What is above narrated marks the manner in which the . as it is called. which always alarmed Isobel Gowdie. and declared that all such persons as are taken away by sudden death go with the King of Elfland. the death for which she was most sorry being that of William Brown. they flew wherever they listed. saying the reverend gentleman's life was not subject to their power. Lammas. in the Dounie Hills. Yet she had been. drinking. which are not supposed to be themselves altogether canny or safe to have concern with. or rushes. The penitent prisoner gives the names of many whom she and her sisters had so slain. all such fell under the witches' power. and got meat there from the Queen of Fairies more than she could eat. She added. 1662. dighting) it. hares. These need be the less insisted upon in this place. but her master forbade her. though we may revert to the execrable proceedings which then took place against this miserable juggler and the poor women who were accused of the same crime. as usual. after they had rambled through the country in different shapes — of cats. the former forming and sharpening the dart from the rough flint. famous both in Scottish and Irish tradition. With this man's evidence we have at present no more to do. implicates. On another occasion this frank penitent confesses her presence at a rendezvous of witches. the Court of Fairy. and the witch would have taken aim again. which frightened her much. In their caverns the fairies manufactured those elf-arrow heads with which the witches and they wrought so much evil. and they entered a fair big room.had seen many persons at the Court of Fairy. where the mountain opened to receive them. The arrow fell short. “Horse and Hatch. If the little whirlwind which accompanies their transportation passed any mortal who neglected to bless himself. and the like — eating. and calling. they at length came to the dounie Hills. whose names he rehearsed particularly. the confessing party. The confession of a woman called Isobel Gowdie. 1659. a parish and burgh of barony in the county of Nairne. and not the elves. as the arch-fiend. The elves and the arch-fiend laboured jointly at this task. At Auldearne. where. and the latter perfecting and finishing (or. To this strange and very particular confession we shall have occasion to recur when witchcraft is the more immediate subject. that the queen is bravely clothed in white linen and in white and brown cloth. and blends the operations of witchcraft with the facilities afforded by the fairies. she said. in the Devil's name !” which is the elfin signal for mounting. These animals are probably the water-bulls. At present it is quoted as another instance of a fortune-teller referring to Elfland as the source of his knowledge. and they acquired the right of shooting at him. in the Milntown of Mains. At the entrance ramped and roared the large fairy bulls. the epidemic terror of witches seems to have gone very far. a minister who was present at the examination of Isobel. and there were elf-bulls roaring and skoilling at the entrance of their palace. that the King of Fairy is a brave man. of date April. as bright as day. A shaft was also aimed at the Reverend Harrie Forbes. Then came the sport of the meeting. and wasting the goods of their neighbours into whose houses they could penetrate.

sequestered valleys. therefore. the Rev. he says. before be is permitted to suck. that.” describes the fairy race as a sort of astral spirits. Kirke accuses them of stealing the milk from the cows. Kirke was walking one evening in his night-gown upon a Dun-shi. and of an abstruse mystical character. deaths. what is more material. be rubbed with a certain balsam.”* In this discourse. The remedy is easy in both cases. Kirke. and the woman in travail is safe if a piece of cold iron is put into the bed. which the unenlightened . the learned divine's monument. The milk cannot be stolen if the mouth of the calf. and can mortally wound the vital parts without breaking the skin. and dim copsewoods. successively minister of the Highland parishes of Balquidder and Aberfoyle. rocks. and within the Highland line. who had pryed so deeply into their mysteries. doubtless). To proceed to more modern instances of persons supposed to have fallen under the power of the fairy race. and burials. or the like.” They have. like mortals in appearance. lying in the most romantic district of Perthshire. but they have no Bibles or works of devotion. he has himself observed in beasts. lying adjacent to the place of eternal punishment. Fawnes. corresponding with mortals existing on earth. Mr. and felt the fatal lacerations which he could not see. while in his latter charge of Aberfoyle. what one would not expect. These beautiful and wild regions.belief in that crime was blended with the fairy superstition. so jealous and irritable a race as to be incensed against those who spoke of them under their proper names. the author. in some respect. and Fairies. who have resolutely maintained secure footing in a region so well suited for their residence. behold! he sunk down in what seemed to be a fit of apoplexy. He was. has informed us of the general belief that. or double-men. Grahame. we must not forget the Reverend Robert Kirke. nurses. very easily come by. in the vicinity of the manse or parsonage. “with undoubting mind. have a savour odious to these “fascinating creatures. and that individual apparitions. These wounds. minister of the Gospel. are not even yet quite abandoned by the fairies. so much was this the case formerly. the first translator of the Psalms into Gaelic verse. Although. and of carrying away. and new-born children from their nurses. of a kind betwixt humanity and angels — says. His successor. Kirke accounts for this by informing us that the great northern mines of iron. that they have children. as Mr. or fairy mount. Dr. with his name duly inscribed. comprehending so many lakes. Indeed. others on Rosycrucian subjects. they represent mortal men. are found among them. should be less than mortally offended at the temerity of the reverend author. which have something of the subtlety of thunderbolts. for the purpose of giving them to the public. Mr. in the end of the seventeenth century. says the reverend author. that Mr. many light toyish books (novels and plays. marriages. It was by no means to be supposed that the elves. the women in pregnancy. is to be seen at the east end of the churchyard at Aberfoyle. yet those acquainted with his real history do not believe that he enjoys the natural repose of the tomb. The essayist fails not to mention the elf-arrow heads. found materials for collecting and compiling his Essay on the “Subterranean and for the most part Invisible People heretofore going under the name of Elves.

a colour fatal to several families in Scotland. I may quote a story of a nature somewhat similar to that of Mas Robert Kirke. who perished at sea after having written his popular poem of “The Shipwreck” — “Thou hast proclaimed our power — be thou our prey!” Upon this subject the reader may consult a very entertaining little volume. when. while the more understanding knew it to be a swoon produced by the supernatural influence of the people whose precincts he had violated. from affording us some curious information on fairy superstition. when the place and its vicinity were alarmed by the following story: — An industrious man. I remember. She was residing with some relations near the small seaport town of North Berwick. as the Ocean to poor Falconer. but if this opportunity is neglected.” the Elfin state declaring to him. to the whole race of the gallant Grahames in particular. having come by a bad fall. and it is to be feared that Mr. author of “The Sabbath. when. of which my wife has been delivered since my disappearance. The life of the excellent person who told it was. ancestor of the present General Graham Stirling. The infant was saved. that he had a piece of green whipcord to complete the lash of his hunting-whip. was so unfortunate as to die during the birth of a fourth child. Grahame of Aberfoyle. After the ceremony of a seeming funeral.” Duchray was apprised of what was to be done. the form of the Rev. but Grahame of Duchray. might happen before the middle of last century. When the posthumous child. I will appear in the room. so I conceive that this adventure. Dr. also. if Duchray shall throw over my head the knife or dirk which lie holds in his hand. I may be restored to society. and commanded him to go to Grahame of Duchray. who is my cousin as well as your own. who. The ceremony took place. protracted to an unusual duration. that a veteran sportsman of the name.”* by the Rev. Kirke was visibly seen while they were seated at table. evil spirits have most power.” would not break through this ancient prejudice of his clan. but the mother had expired in convulsions. The terrible visitation of fairy vengeance which has lighted upon Mr. and the apparition of Mr. in his astonishment. He tells us that these capricious elves are chiefly dangerous on a Friday.took for death. a weaver in the little town. Kirke has not intimidated his successor. moreover. failed to perform the ceremony enjoined. after bearing two or three children. and as . was married to a beautiful woman. I am lost for ever. rather than use the fated colour commonly employed on such occasions. called “Sketches of Perthshire. but had his library table covered with blue or black cloth. insomuch that we have beard that in battle a Grahame is generally shot through the green check of his plaid. that I am not dead. Robert Kirke appeared to a relation. James Grahame. he thought it sufficient to account for it. shall be brought to baptism. but a captive in Fairyland. Kirke still “drees his weird in Fairyland. as the day of the Crucifixion. “Say to Duchray. an excellent man and good antiquary. that my late amiable friend. which took place in her childhood. and only one chance remains for my liberation. for the benefit of her friends and the poor. To return from the Perthshire fairies. and mentions their displeasure at any one who assumes their accustomed livery of green.

In order to convince him there was no delusion. and with these recalled the extraordinary rumours which were afloat at the time of her decease. with the clergyman at their head. which. if he now neglected. A second night. I believe. which. Matthew Reid) for the due proclamation of banns. upon which. it is likely that this proposed decisive alteration of his condition brought back many reflections concerning the period of their union. and should disinter the coffin in which she was supposed to have been buried. an opportunity still remained of recovering her. again recover my station in human society. be “saw in his dream” that she took up the nursling at whose birth she had died. The next morning the terrified widower carried a statement of his perplexity to Mr. whilst her character for temper seemed to warrant her good usage of his children. renowned for his strength. As the man had really loved his late partner. and with astonishment heard her say. the smith. took no measures in consequence. was almost a matter of necessity.” said the apparition. Mr. and this ghastly corpse substituted in the place of the body. after bitterly lamenting his wife for a year of mourning. but. and carried the names of the parties to the clergyman (called. and you must have the fleetest runner of the parish (naming a man famed for swiftness) to pursue me.she was much disfigured after death. and without the assistance of a housewife. He proposed himself and was accepted. it became an opinion among her gossips that. so that the whole forced upon him the following lively dream: — As he lay in his bed. and. and in that case I shall. as it was usually termed. to a poor artisan with so young a family. from the comfortless realms of Elfland. and such a one. “I will start from the coffin and fly with great speed round the church. the visitation was again repeated. too. Like Mr. to attend to her instructions. He conjured her to speak. she would never have power to visit earth or communicate with him again. like the minister of Aberfoyle. and gave it suck. began to think on the prudence of forming a new marriage. that she was not dead.” In the morning the poor widower was distressed with the recollection of his dream. to hold me fast after I am overtaken. as is not very surprising. and appeared to him the very likeness of his late wife. the clergyman. she must have been carried off by the elves. he beheld. at the ghostly hour of midnight. and conjured him. upbraided him with want of love and affection. by the prayers of the church. she spilled also a drop or two of her milk on the poor man's bed-clothes. besides being an excellent divine in . She charged him on a certain day of the ensuing week that he should convene the most respectable housekeepers in the town. Kirke. from some neglect of those who ought to have watched the sick woman. The widower paid little attention to these rumours. for the last time. who entered his hut. or winning her back. but the unwilling captive of the Good Neighbours. On the third night she appeared with a sorrowful and displeased countenance. she told him that if all the love which he once had for her was not entirely gone. “The clergyman is to recite certain prayers. Matthew Reid. awake as he thought. stood by the side of his bed. as if to assure him of the reality of the vision. and the efforts of my loving husband and neighbours. the figure of a female dressed in white. He readily found a neighbour with whose good looks he was satisfied. ashamed and puzzled. This reverend person.

Being perhaps the latest news from the invisible commonwealth. and not as a prisoner in Elfland. The friends and neighbours of the deceased. and with a hollow sound. it will be only as of one from whom death has separated you. of sagacity. whom the old dreamer had named. whom he soon saw floating through the air towards him. The poor man. we give the tourist's own words. but bid him go away and no harm should befall him. as a clergyman of the Church of Scotland. and that be had almost lost his speech. that he kept his word with the spectre. seizing him by the shoulder. as they are called in Gaelic) — came under Pennant's notice so late as during that observant traveller's tour in 1769. obliged him to promise an assignation at that very hour that day seven-night. “I will give you my best advice. and the perplexed widower had no more visitations from his former spouse.” The advice was taken. if you think of the former. But it is incredible the mischief these agri somnia did in the neighbourhood. and mingling together like bees going to hive.” said the clergyman. He explained to the widower that no created being could have the right or power to imprison or detain the soul of a Christian — conjured him not to believe that his wife was otherwise disposed of than according to God's pleasure — assured him that Protestant doctrine utterly denies the existence of any middle state in the world to come — and explained to him that he. confounded and perplexed by various feelings. who. An instance. and who appeared to him skimming over the tops of the unbending corn. that be spoke to her. were in the utmost anxiety at finding them in such bad company in the other world. and conveyed over a wall into an adjacent corn-field. “Get your new bride's consent to be married to-morrow. but he contended it could be only an illusion of the devil. but on his uttering the name of God all vanished. You will have a new wife. and for whom you may have thoughts of affection and sorrow. and so the affair rested when I left the country. He did not attempt to combat the reality of the vision which had thrown his parishioner into this tribulation. the almost extinct belief of the old idle tales began to gain ground. “A poor visionary who had been working in his cabbage-garden (in Breadalbane) imagined that he was raised suddenly up into the air. but she told him she was at that time in too much haste to attend to him. but a female sprite. and. of communication with the Restless People — (a more proper epithet than that of Daoine Shi . if you can. I will take it on me to dispense with the rest of the banns. neither could nor dared authorize opening graves or using the intervention of prayer to sanction rites of a suspicious character. who understood the human passions. many of whom he knew to have been dead for some years. that they spoke an unknown language. or to-day. or proclaim them three times in one day. and the good minister will have many a weary discourse and exhortation before he can eradicate the . asked his pastor what he should do. that he found himself surrounded by a crowd of men and women. that they very roughly pushed him to and fro. or Men of Peace. that he then found his hair was all tied in double knots (well known by the name of elf-locks). but as a saint in Heaven.other respects. perhaps the latest which has been made public. was at the same time a man.

Immediate Effect of Christianity on Articles of Popular Superstition — Chaucer's Account of the Roman Catholic Priests banishing the Fairies — Bishop Corbett imputes the same Effect to the Reformation — His Verses on that Subject — His Iter Septentrionale — Robin Goodfellow and other Superstitions mentioned by Reginald Scot — Character of the English Fairies — The Tradition had become obsolete in that Author's Time — That of Witches remained in vigour — But impugned by various Authors after the Reformation. and the poet. who attached themselves to the child of humanity. 1812. and who endeavoured to protect a fellowmortal against their less philanthropic companions. but he cannot abide that. came to bear upon and have connexion with that horrid belief in witchcraft which cost so many innocent persons and crazy impostors their lives for the supposed commission of impossible crimes. which. Remigius. and others — Demonology defended by Bodinus. 321. — Their mutual Abuse of each other — .”* It is scarcely necessary to add that this comparatively recent tale is just the counterpart of the story of Bessie Dunlop.” edited by John G. i. The curious collection of trials. In the next chapter I propose to trace how the general disbelief in the fairy creed began to take place.” by Reginald Scot. and reprinted. nor yet be mocked. 21. Alison Pearson. for Longman & Co. the Gael. was much the older of the two. sometimes visibly. Edinburgh. that it is equally worth the attention of the historian. — “Discourse concerning Devils. * Pennant's “Tour in Scotland. chap. 1815. 110 LETTER VI.” vol. Esq.. from “The Criminal Records of Scotland. * Pitcairn's “Trials. in its general sense of worshipping the Dii Campestres..” annexed to “The Discovery of Witchcraft. Naudæus.” now in the course of publication. book i.” It-was printed with the author's name in 1691. affords so singular a picture of the manners and habits of our ancestors. He talketh with men friendly. which afforded pretext for such cruel practical consequences. by a circumspect enquirer residing among the Scottish-Irish (i. all of whom found in Elfland some friend. to occasion are described by those who have the second sight. and gradually brought into discredit the supposed feats of witchcraft. These instances may tend to show how the fairy superstition. p. by Robert Pitcairn. and now. collected and compared. and now. * The title continues-"Among the Low Country Scots. * See “Scottish Poems. pp. 191201.) in Scotland. as Wierus. to occasion farther enquiry. who will do nobody hurt. formerly of middle earth. except he receive injury. &c.” vol.e . * Edinburgh. or Highlanders. the antiquary. as they second sight. p. There go as many tales upon this Hudkin in some parts of Germany as there did in England on Robin Goodfellow. i. and of the Irish butler who was so nearly carried off. * Hudkin is a very familiar devil. the philosopher. Scot. Dalzell. while yet a semibarbarous people.absurd ideas this idle story has revived. sometimes invisibly.

the ancient Celtic breed. pays the Church of Rome. and boures. be informed that the . and which gave way before it. to the warmth and zeal of the devotion of the limitary friars. Two or three verses of this lively satire may be very well worth the reader's notice. and has represented their expulsion as a consequence of the change of religion. This was the old opinion. Of which that Bretons speken great honour. with its monks and preaching friars. As thick as motes in the sunne-beam. For there as wont to walken was an elf. kitchenes. The Elf queen. But now can no man see no elves mo. that is. and his holy things. Individual instances of scepticism there might exist among scholars. The verses are curious as well as picturesque. with her joly company. The poet Chaucer. the compliment of having. genuine Celtic colony: — “In old time of the King Artour. castles high and towers. in some of his other tales. There walketh now the limitour himself. This maketh that there ben no fairies. ALTHOUGH the influence of the Christian religion was not introduced to the nations of Europe with such radiance as to dispel at once those clouds of superstition which continued to obscure the understanding of hasty and ill-instructed converts. but a more modern poet. in proportion as its light became more pure and refined from the devices of men. with a vein of humour not unworthy of Geoffrey himself. The fairies of whom the bard of Woodstock talks are. it will be observed. and under every tree. at the same time. and may go some length to establish the existence of doubts concerning the general belief in fairies among the well-instructed in the time of Edward III. Cities and burghes. at an early period. we are tempted to suspect some mixture of irony in the compliment which ascribes the exile of the fairies. As he goeth in his limitation.” When we see the opinion which Chaucer has expressed of the regular clergy of his time. Danced full oft in many a grene mead. There is no other incubus than he. and the Predominance of Mysticism in that Department. from popular faith.Imperfection of Physical Science at this Period. indeed. And saith his mattins. has with greater probability delayed the final banishment of the fairies from England. All was this land fulfilled of faerie. Women may now go safely up and doun In every bush. chambers. sheep-pens and dairies. In under nichtes and in morwenings. For now the great charity and prayers Of limitours.* and other holy freres. That searchen every land and every stream. expelled from the land all spirits of an inferior and less holy character. or Armorica. and he seems to refer for the authorities of his tale to Bretagne. with which the land was “fulfilled” in King Arthur's time. there can be no doubt that its immediate operation went to modify the erroneous and extravagant articles of credulity which lingered behind the old pagan faith. Thropes and barnes. as I rede I speake of many hundred years ago. And he ne will don them no dishonour. Blessing halls. who must. till the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

' Thought I. “two of which were. If ever you at Bosworth would be found. At morning and at evening both. and kept. The fairies' lost command. So little care of sleep and sloth Those pretty ladies had. Or else they take their ease. still of little faith. 'for sure this massy forester. Dr. Though William. and their route becomes so confused that they return on their steps and labour — As in a conjuror's circle — William found A mean for our deliverance. They never danced on any heath As when the time hath bin. in Queen Mary's days. Then merrily. 'See. Corbett's party on the iter septentrionale. When Tom came home from labour. 'for Puck is busy in these oaks.”' * . to the tune of the Meadow Brow by the learned. Good housewives now may say. Who live as changelings ever since For love of your domains. alas ! they all are dead. For now foul slats in dairies Do fare as well as they.' But ere this witchcraft was performed.' — 'Strike that dare. was nothing less than the Bishop of Oxford and Norwich in the beginning of the seventeenth century.' Quoth he. Yet who of late for cleanliness Finds sixpence in her shoe? Lament. which yet remain. But since of late Elizabeth. Their songs were Ave Maries. entitled the Fairies' Farewell. And pray ye for his noddle. Witness those rings and roundelays Of theirs. the fairies Were of the old profession. for this is fairy ground. tili he could say. Or gone beyond the seas Or farther for religion fled. Then turn your cloaks. friend. But now. But some have changed your land And all your children sprung from hence Are now grown Puritans. Or Cis to milking rose. 'Tis Robin. In strokes will prove the better conjuror. lament. doctors. has doubt. one that knew Humanity and manners. and this your way. and two desired to be. to be sung or whistle. or some sprite that walks about. old abbies. yonder Bosworth stands. by the unlearned to the tune of Fortune:” — Farewell. For all the fairies' evidence Were lost if that were addle. On many a graspy plain. much it would seem to the amusement of the witty bishop. Corbett. Their dances were procession. we meet A very man who had no cloven feet.' But 'twas a gentle keeper.' quoth he. 'and it will turn to air — Cross yourselves thrice and strike it. And merrily went their toes. — 'Turn your cloaks.” but whether William was guide.”* This William Chourne appears to have attended Dr. You merry were and glad. Were footed.author. And though they sweep their hearths no less Than maids were wont to do. 'Strike him. where they grew. whence the concluding verse — “To William all give audience. “By which we note. And rode along so far. They did but change priests' babies. The poem is named “A proper new Ballad. an inexhaustible record of their pranks and feats.” The remaining part of the poem is dedicated to the praise d glory of old William Chourne of Staffordshire. merrily went their tabor. And later James came in. or domestic seems uncertain. who remained a true and stanch evidence in behalf of the departed elves. rewards and fairies. The travellers lose themselves in the mazes of Chorley Forest on their way to Bosworth.

and doubtless the rest of these illusions will in a short time. ought not to be resorted to unless under an absolute conviction that the exorcist is the stronger party. talking of times before his own. Boneless. whereby we start and are afraid when we hear one cry. the puckle. Hobgoblin. the spoorn. specially in a churchyard. Kitt-with-the-candlestick. dwarfs. since the courteous keeper was mistaken by their associate champion for Puck or Robin Goodfellow. Pans. specially when Robin Goodfellow kept such a coil in the country. fangs like a dog. faunes. witches. the hellwain. tritons. and that the hellwain were a kind of wandering spirits. the superstitious fancies of the people sunk gradually in esteem and influence . spirits. since the preaching of the Gospel. that we are afraid of our own shadows. and a tail at his breech . Robin Goodfellow. It is not the less certain that. “some one knave in a white sheet hath cozened and abused many thousands. eyes like a basin. and a voice roaring like a lion. claws like a bear. from which the word Pook or Puckle was doubtless derived. who are introduced into the romance of Richard sans Peur. Well. who declaimed against the “splendid miracles” of the Church of Rome. this wretched and cowardly infidelity. conjurers. and many times is taken for our father's soul. the man-in-the-oak. urchins.In this passage the bishop plainly shows the fairies maintained their influence in William's imagination. and then a polled sheep is a perilous beast. where a right hardy man heretofore durst not to have passed by night but his hair would stand upright. satyrs. a skin like a negro. Tom Tumbler. be detected and vanish away. nymphs. and in the time of Queen Elizabeth the unceasing labour of many and popular preachers. could not be serious in averring that the fairy superstitions were obsolete in his day. since they were found current three centuries afterwards. Tom Thumb. and I might conjecture that the man-inthe-oak was the same with the Erl-König of the Germans. Chaucer. imps. Boh ! and they have so frayd us with bull-beggars. as knowledge and religion became more widely and brightly displayed over any country. the descendants of a champion named Hellequin. insomuch that some never fear the devil but on a dark night . calcars. fire in his mouth. sylvans. changelings. The spells resorted to to get rid of his supposed delusions are alternative that of turning the cloak — (recommended in visions of the second-sight or similar illusions as a means of obtaining a certainty concerning the being which is before imperfectly seen ) — and that of exorcising the spirit with a cudgel which last. therefore.” said Reginald Scot. is in part forgotten. into the preceding passage. “Certainly. the fire-drake. In our childhood our mothers' maids have so terrified us with an ugly devil having horns on his head. giants. by God's grace. incubus. I might indeed say the Phuca is a Celtic superstition. produced also its natural effect upon the other stock of superstitions. But . fairies. elves. and such other bugbears. hags. thanks be to God. centaurs.”* It would require a better demonologist than I am to explain the various obsolete superstitions which Reginald Scot has introduced as articles of the old English faith. Corbett prudently thinks.

their nicety was extreme concerning any coarseness or negligence which could offend their delicacy. that they were vassals to or in close alliance with the infernals. Robin Goodfellow. shortly after the death of what is called a nice tidy housewife. as there is too much reason to believe was the case with their North British sisterhood. departed from the family in displeasure. repeating. His jests were of the most simple and at the same time the broadest comic character — to mislead a clown on his path homeward. less wild and necromantic character. than that received among the sister people. in the poem of L'Allegro. and some others. and pulled her down the wooden stairs by the heels. however. were his special enjoyments. Before leaving the subject of fairy superstition in England we may remark that it was of a more playful and gentle. resembled the Pierrot of the pantomime. And it is to be noticed that lie represents these tales of the fairies. and a basin of sweet cream. as of a cheerful rather than a serious cast . in order to induce an old gossip to commit the egregious mistake of sitting down on the floor when she expected to repose on a chair. duly placed for their refreshment by the deceased. as Milton informs us. must have both his food and his rest. their peculiar sense of cleanliness rewarded the housewives with the silver token in the shoe. in forgetting the very names of objects which had been the sources of terror to their ancestors of the Elizabethan age. perhaps. The constant attendant upon the English Fairy court was the celebrated Puck. told round the cottage hearth. Boneless. amid his other notices of country superstitions.* The common nursery story cannot be forgotten. Incensed at such a coarse regale. and I cannot discern. Kitt-with-the-candlestick. the Elfin band was shocked to see that a person of different character. The amusements of the southern. serves to show what progress the English have made in two centuries. who to the elves acted in some measure as the jester or clown of the company — (a character then to be found in the establishment of every person of quality) — or to use a more modern comparison. or Robin Goodfellow. fairies were light and sportive. If he condescended to do some work for the sleeping family. The catalogue. to disguise himself like a stool. from the insinuations of some scrupulous divines. their resentments were satisfied with pinching or scratching the objects of their displeasure . instead of the nicely arranged little loaf of the whitest bread. the elves dragged the peccant housewife out of bed. who. the selfish Puck was far from practising this labour on the disinterested principle of the northern goblin. at the same time. had substituted a brown loaf and a cobb of herrings. with whom the widower had filled his deserted arms. how. except. in which he had some resemblance to the Scottish household spirit called a Brownie. if raiment or food was left in his way and for his use. on the contrary.most antiquaries will be at fault concerning the spoorn. which illustrates what I have said concerning the milder character of the southern superstitions. as compared . in scorn of her churlish hospitality — “Brown bread and herring cobb ! Thy fat sides shall have many a bob!” But beyond such playful malice they had no desire to extend their resentment.

doubtless. that the belief was fallen into abeyance. having in it so much of interest to the imagination that we almost envy the credulity of those who. in the gentle moonlight of a summer night in England. however engaging. as was afterwards but too well shown. that great and ancient bull-beggar. soothsayers. as they have diviners. while that as to witchcraft.” This passage seems clearly to prove that the belief in Robin Goodfellow and his fairy companions was now out of date. notwithstanding his turn for wit and humour. saving that it hath not pleased the translators of tile Bible to call spirits by the name of Robin Goodfellow. and in time to come a witch will be as much derided and condemned. means nothing more than an Utopia or nameless country. however. witches' charms and conjurers' cozenage are yet effectual. by the way.”* In the same tone Reginald Scot addresses the reader in the preface: — “To make a solemn suit to you that are partial readers to set aside partiality. With the fairy popular creed fell. and Popery is sufficiently discovered. could fancy they saw the fairies tracing their sportive ring. kept its ground against argument and controversy. must of necessity yield their place before the increase of knowledge. amid the tangled glades of a deep forest. and cozeners by the name of witches. Of Spenser we must say nothing. like shadows at the advance of morn. were labour lost and time ill-employed. Poor Robin. and as clearly perceived. a hundred years since. between whom and King Oberon Shakespeare contrives to keep a degree of distinct subordination. to the people as hags and witches be now . having been embalmed in the poetry of Milton and of Shakespeare. But it is in vain to regret illusions which. and. but the belief in witches kept its ground. as the illusion and knavery of Robin Goodfellow. We have already seen. and no devil indeed. nevertheless. I should have entreated your predecessors to believe that Robin Goodfellow. as I well as writers only inferior to these great names. in a passage quoted from Reginald Scot.with those of the same class in Scotland — the stories of which are for the most part of a frightful and not seldom of a disgusting quality. had been obscured by oblivion even in the days of Queen Bess. poisoners.” We are then to take leave of this fascinating article of the popular creed. that heretofore Robin Goodfellow and Hobgoblin were as terrible. for I should no more prevail herein than if. But Robin Goodfellow ceaseth now to be much feared. because in his “Faery Queen” the title is the only circumstance which connects his splendid allegory with the popular superstition. and with indifferent eyes to look upon my book. many subordinate articles of credulity in England. as he uses it. that which follows from the same author affirms more positively that Robin's date was over: — “Know ye this. had been but a cozening. and also as credible. merchant. or the turfy swell of her romantic commons. It was rooted in the minds of the . and survived “to shed more blood. which for a moment deceives us by its appearance of reality. upon whom there have gone as many and as credible tales as witchcraft. to take in good part my writings. These superstitions have already survived their best and most useful purpose.

as in reverence to the Holy Scriptures. The pursuers of exact science to its coy retreats. superior to that of their age. to rescue the reputation of the great men whose knowledge. being used in several places. in which the word witch . — to the jurisconsult. and perhaps no little ill-will. and cannot rationally be referred to supernatural agency. the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were periods when the revival o learning. and in doing so incurred much misrepresentation. had introduced a system of doubt. in the cause of truth and humanity. and studied under the celebrated Cornelius Agrippa. They might say to the theologist. and which are not in our times interrupted or suspended. Notwithstanding these specious reasons. have attested. and which could only be compared to that which sent victims of old through the fire to Moloch. by laws upon which hundreds and thousands have been convicted. on subjects which had occupied the bulls of popes and decrees of councils. claim for them some distinction in a work on Demonology. acknowledged their guilt and the justice of their punishment? It is a strange scepticism. or Wierus. and the code of almost all civilized countries. Learned writers arose in different countries to challenge the very existence of this imaginary crime. which rejects the evidence of Scripture. was a man of great research in physical science. when unsupported by argument. as well by the easy solution it afforded of much which they found otherwise bard to explain. and unhesitating exercise of the private judgment. In short. ignorant. the sufficing cause to which superstition attributes all that is beyond her own narrow power of explanation. directed the 'punishment of death. by their judicial confessions. the invention of printing. These two circumstances furnished the numerous believers in witchcraft with arguments in divinity and law which they conceived irrefragable. they might add. enquiry. The learned Wier.common people. the inference that the same species of witches were meant as those against whom modern legislation had. while he suffered. in most European nations. however venerable. The courageous interposition of those philosophers who opposed science and experience to the prejudices of superstition and ignorance. or countenance imposture. and of the accused persons themselves. conveyed to those who did not trouble themselves about the nicety of the translation from the Eastern tongues. however sanctioned by length of time and universal acquiescence. the spirit of the age was little disposed to spare error. and defenceless. were sure to be the first to discover that the most remarkable phenomena in Nature are regulated by certain fixed laws. disregard of authority. against whom the charge of sorcery was repeatedly alleged by Paulus Jovius and other authors. on the other . Will you not believe in witches? the Scriptures aver their existence. Each advance in natural knowledge teaches us that it is the pleasure of 'the Creator to govern the world by the laws which he has imposed. of human legislature. the fearless investigations of the Reformers into subjects thought formerly too sacred for consideration of any save the clergy. Will you dispute the existence of a crime against which our own statute-book. and to put a stop to the horrid superstition whose victims were the aged. many or even most of whom have. had caused them to be suspected of magic.

both by serious arguments and by ridicule. as he termed himself. and an earnestness in pleading his cause. He wrote an interesting work. of the time . yet did he not escape the scandal which is usually flung by their prejudiced contemporaries upon those disputants whom it is found. Scot also had intercourse with some of the celebrated fortune-tellers. considering that his subject is incapable of being reduced into a regular form. a beneficed clergyman. to Queen Christina of Sweden. purged their eye with rue and euphrasie. which did not always spare some of the superstitions of Rome herself. more easy to defame than to answer. Among persons who. He was. and other supernatural fancies. from the persecution of the inquisitors of the Church. Dr. busied during his whole life with assembling books together. is designed to throw upon the Papists in particular those tricks in which. after taking his degree as a doctor of medicine. Reginald Scot ought to be distinguished. Gabriel Naudé. that he denied the existence of spirits. when justice could only accuse him of an incautious eagerness to make good his argument. were maintained and kept in exercise. at whose court he practised for thirty years with the highest reputation. was one of the first who attacked the vulgar belief. whose accusation against this celebrated man was. and boldly assailed. disregarding the scandal which. even when it is impossible to persuade the vulgar that the devil has not been consulted on the occasion. As that law was under he stood to emanate from James himself. pious. and is of a nature particularly seductive to an excursive tale He appears to have studied legerdemain for the purpose of showing how much that is apparently unaccountable can nevertheless be performed without the intervention of supernatural assistance. upon this subject. a charge very inconsistent with that of sorcery. was a perfect scholar and man of letters. amongst others. To defend the popular belief of witchcraft there arose a number of advocates. and enjoying the office of librarian to several persons of high rank. but he also writes on the general question with some force and talent. by confederacy and imposture. who Was reigning monarch during the hottest part . and so temperate as never to taste any liquor stronger than water. or Naudæus. Harsnet and many others (who wrote rather on special cases of Demonology than on the general question). of whom Bodin and some others neither wanted knowledge nor powers of reasoning. the vulgar credulity on the subject of wizards and witches. by so doing.hand. This learned man. the popular ideas concerning witchcraft. Wierus. entitled “Apologie pour les Grands Hommes Accusés de Magie. possession. as well as that of Harsnet. besides the Rev. he was charged by his contemporaries as guilty of heresy and scepticism. became physician to the Duke of Cleves. They pressed the incredulous party with the charge that they denied the existence of a crime against which the haw had denounced a capital punishment. which consists in corresponding with them.” and as he exhibited a good deal of vivacity of talent.” He seems to have been a zealous Protestant. Webster assures us that he was a “person of competent learning. or Philomaths. besides. leading a most unblemished life. one of whom he brings forward to declare the vanity of the science which he himself had once professed. and of a good family. he was likely to bring upon himself. and much his book.

for a period. Secondly. and which. Paracelsus. It is first to be observed that Wierus. not one the wisest. which he had copied from the original in the library of Cornelius Agrippa. . and the like. league with an. the philosophers themselves lost patience. as the affirming and defending the existence of the rime seemed to increase the number of witches. with the charms for raising and for binding to the service of mortals. and how they me to be such — according to the scholastic jargon. and assuredly augmented the list of executions. Bodin. But for a certain time the preponderance of the argument lay on the side of the Demonologists. had introduced into his work against witchcraft the whole Stenographia of Trithemius. with some inconsistency. Assailed by such heavy charges. explained the zeal of Wierus to protect the tribe of sorcerers from punishment. and from the long catalogue of fiends which it contained. except to show the extent of his cabalistical knowledge. the English authors who defended the opposite side were obliged to entrench themselves under an evasion. without patronizing the devil and the witches against their brethren of mortality. t: only demurred to what is their nature. and retorted abuse in their turn. Delrio.of the controversy. for what reason cannot well be conjectured. Wierus. witch-advocates. &c. judges. but certainly of something different from that which legislators. but only de modo existendi. In the meantime (the rather that the debate was on a subject particularly difficult of comprehension) the debating parties grew warm. obscure. by stating that he himself was a conjurer and the scholar of Cornelius Agrippa. to grant that witchcraft had existed. and which might perchance have proved unsafe to those who used it. Scot. was considered by Bodin as containing proof that Wierus himself was a sorcerer. an others began to penetrate into its recesses it was an unknown. greater influence than their opponents on the public mind. and ill-defined region. only insisting that it was a species of witchcraft consisting of they knew not what. to avoid maintaining an argument unpalatable to a degree to those in power. certainly. as if it were impossible for any to hold the opinion of Naudæus. suspicious from the place where found it. With a certain degree of sophistry they answered that they did not doubt the possibility of witches. and did not permit those who laboured in it to give that precise and accurate account of their discoveries which the progress of reason experimentally and from analysis has enabled the late discoverers to do with success. and began to call names. and we may briefly observe the causes which gave their opinions. that e question in respect to witches was not de existentia. and juries had hitherto considered the statute as designed to repress. since he thus unnecessarily placed the disposal of any who might buy the book the whole secrets which formed his stock-in-trade. and might therefore well desire to the lives of those accused of the same. calling Bodin. and others who used their arguments. and might exist. from the state of physic science at the period when Van Helmont. Hence they threw on their antagonists the offensive names of witch-patrons and witch-advocates. a lively Frenchman of an irritable habit. we may notice that.. By resorting to so subtle an argument those who impugned the popular belief were obliged.

to confute the believers in witches. the circumstance. for instance. or by transplantation. with Napier. and it is therefore in vain to seek to account for them. a doubtful and twilight appearance to the various branches physical philosophy. that warts could be cured by sympathy — who thought. in the wilds of a partially discovered country. the discovery of the philosopher's stone was daily hoped for. the sympathetic powder. it was observed that a flag and a fern never grew near each other. was imputed to some antipathy between these vegetables nor was it for some time resolved by the natural rule. were obliged by the imperfect knowledge of the times to admit much that was mystical and inexplicable — those who opined. whereas the fern loves a deep dryish soil. with Bacon. and as affording a protection for falsehood in other branches of science. since such things do not exist. writing in detection of supposed witchcraft. an argument turning on the impossible or the incredible. according to the satirist. was cumbered by a number of fanciful and incorrect opinions.” This substitution of mystical fancies for experimental reasoning gave. in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. opinions which our more experienced age would reject as frivolous fancies. and an opinion prevailed that the results now known to be the consequence their various laws of matter. This error had a doubly bad effect. as a string of undeniable facts. that hidden treasures could be discovered by the mathematics — who salved the weapon instead of the wound. for instance. that the flag has its nourishment in marshy ground. the curing of various diseases by apprehensions. and their remarkable and misconceived phenomena were appealed to as proof of the reasonableness of their expectations. both as degrading the immediate department in which it occurred. The attributes of the divining-rod were fully credited. could not consistently use. chiefly of a mystical character. “Geographers on pathless downs Place elephants for want of towns. imaginary often mystical causes were assigned to them. that the art of chemistry was accounted mystical. The champions who. in a word. “for example. amulets. until such phenomena were traced to their sources. magnetism. Physical science. for the same reason that. against whose doctrine they protested.Webster. could not be traced through combinations even by those who knew the effects them selves. assumes. in their own province. Such were the obstacles arising from the vanity of philosophers and the imperfection of . and electricity. The learned and sensible Dr. the effects of healing by the weapon-salve. It followed that.Natural magic — a phrase use to express those phenomena which could be produced knowledge of the properties of matter — had so much in it that was apparently uncombined and uncertain. and detected murders as well a springs of water by the divining-rod.” All of which undoubted wonders he accuses the age of desiring to throw on the devil's back — an unnecessary load certainly. while the opposers of the ordinary theory might have struck the 'deepest blows at the witch hypothesis by an appeal to common sense. they were themselves hampered by articles of philosophical belief which they must have been sensible contained nearly as deep draughts upon human credulity as were made by the Demonologists. If.

when as it is but one and the same malignant fiend that meddles in both. like those of the Middle Ages. to the general increase of knowledge and improvement of experimental philosophy. * Reginald Scot's “Discovery of Witchcraft. otherwhiles to he loued as God. under pretext of Witchcraft ——Florimond's Testimony concerning the Increase of Witches in his own Time — Bull of Pope Innocent VIII. * Dr. . Those against treason are no exception. but the good seed which they had sown remained uncorrupted in the soil. “Wife of Bath's Tale. 178. in addition. to bear fruit so soon as the circumstances should be altered which at first impeded its growth. divided into good and bad. If he turn his cloak or plaid. PENAL laws.” * Corbett's Poems.” book. * Reginald Scot's “Discovery of Witchcraft. he will obtain the full sight which lie desires. LETTER VII Penal Laws unpopular when rigidly exercised — Prosecution of Witches placed in the hand of Special Commissioners. and may probably find it to be his own fetch. In the next letter I shall take a view of the causes which helped to remove these impediments. which was carried on with much anger and malevolence. but are uniformly found to disgust and offend at least the more sensible part of the public when the punishments become frequent and are relentlessly inflicted. 15. ad inquirendum — Prosecution for Witchcraft not frequent in the Elder Period of the Roman Empire — Nor in the Middle Ages — Some Cases took place. chap. chap. 213. Jackson. may be at first bailed with unanimous acquiescence and approbation. denounced against witchcraft. or wraith. 1625. or double-ganger. however — The Maid of Orleans — The Duchess of Gloucester — Richard the Third's Charge against the Relations of the Queen Dowager — But Prosecutions against Sorcerers became more common in the end of the Fourteenth Century — Usually united with the Charge of Heresy — Monstrelet's Account of the Persecution against the Waldenses. from difference of events ascribed to them. p.” — Jackson on Unbelief.their science. p. for the bodily harmes or good turncs supposed to be in his power. — Various Prosecutions in Foreign Countries under this severe Law — Prosecutions in Labourt by the Inquisitor De Lancre and his Colleague — Lycanthropy — Witches in Spain — In Sweden — and particularly those Apprehended at Mohra. seeking sometimes to be feared. p. ii. 191. it must always be remembered. edited by Octavius Gilchrist. in his ” Treatise on Unbelief. A common instance is that of a person haunted with a resemblance whose face he cannot see.” book vii. edit. * Friars limited to beg within a certain district. “Thus are the Fayries. which suspended the strength of their appeal to reason and common sense against the condemning of wretches to a cruel death on account of crimes which the nature of things rendered in modern times totally impossible We cannot doubt that they suffered considerably in the contest. vii. * Corbett's Poems.” opines for the severe opinion.

authorizing them to visit those provinces of Germany. But no general denunciation against witchcraft itself. “Surge tandem canrnifex !” It is accordingly remarkable. proud of the trust reposed in them. either in humanity or policy. France. under pretext of consulting with the spiritual world. when the Papal system had attained its highest pitch of power and of corruption. The influence of the Churchmen was in early times secure. In the earlier period of the Church of Rome witchcraft is frequently alluded to. thought it becoming to use the utmost exertions on their part. They ought not. and by a reaction natural to the human mind desired. Commissions of Inquisition were especially empowered to weed out of the land the witches and those who had intercourse with familiar spirits. already mentioned. in different countries.Each reflecting government will do well to shorten that melancholy reign of terror which perhaps must necessarily follow on the discovery of a plot or the defeat of an insurrection. glutted the public with seas of innocent blood. and how uniformly men loathed the gore after having swallowed it. in which probably the higher and better instructed members of the clerical order put as little faith at that time as they do . before we come to notice the British Islands and their Colonies. as a league with the Enemy of Man. as fear is always cruel and credulous. how often at some particular period of their history there occurred an epidemic of terror of witches. It would be impossible to give credit to the extent of this delusion. or in any other respect fell under the ban of the Church. or desertion of the Deity. to wait till the voice of the nation calls to them. to make innovation in the state. and a me sui generis. in prudence. In Catholic countries on the continent. by false prophecies or otherwise. and a capital punishment assigned to those who were supposed to have accomplished by sorcery the death of others. A short review of foreign countries. or Italy where any report concerning witches or sorcery had alarmed the public mind . to take away or restrict those laws which had been the source of carnage. appears to have been so acted upon. by the fabrication of false miracles. to prolong the blind veneration of the people. until the later period of the sixteenth century. than to vex others and weary themselves by secret investigations into dubious and mystical trespasses. had not some of the inquisitors themselves been reporters of their own judicial exploits : the same hand which subscribed the sentence has recorded the execution. as well as the heretics who promulgated or adhered to false doctrine. and the severity of the tortures they inflicted. But being considered as obnoxious equally to the canon and civil law. which denounces sorcerers and witches as rebels to God. or to have attempted. and authors of sedition in the empire. in order that their posterity might neither have the will nor the mean to enter into similar excesses. that the subtlety of the examinations. as Mecænas to Augustus. will prove the truth of this statement. until they rendered the province in which they exercised their jurisdiction a desert from which the inhabitants fled. the various kingdoms adopted readily that part of the civil law. and they rather endeavoured. Special warrants were thus granted from time to time in behalf of such inquisitors. and those Commissioners. which. might wring the truth out of all suspected persons.

around the tree and fountain. when the ill-starred Jeanne fell into his hands. while several of her accomplices died in prison or were executed. and which it was at least needless to dismantle. we are sorry to say. The story of the celebrated Jeanne d'Arc. and thereafter banished to the Isle of Man. reviving. dancing. The mean recurrence to such a charge against such a person had no more success than it deserved. gathered for the purpose. by her courage and enthusiasm manifested on many important occasions. The English vulgar regarded her as a sorceress — the French as an inspired heroine. about the same period. for the defence of their own doctrine. if it could be conveniently garrisoned and defended. after having. The Duchess was condemned to do penance. a frontier fortress which they wrested from the enemy. and inspired them with the hope of once more freeing their country. designed by the fiends and fairies whom she worshipped to accomplish her temporary success. was not. which was in that case turned to the prejudice of the poor woman who observed it. and a fountain arising under it. highminded.now. accused of consulting witches concerning the mode of compassing the death of her husband's nephew. which she had represented as signs of her celestial mission. the fathers of the Roman Church were in policy reluctant to abandon such impressive spots. a sacrifice to a superstitious fear of witchcraft. but a tool used by the celebrated Dunois to play the part which he assigned her. the obsolete idolatry which in ancient times had been rendered on the same spot to the Genius Loci . a huge oak-tree. they acquired. The charmed sword and blessed banner. and making gestures. Her indictment accused her of having frequented an ancient oak-tree. The death of the innocent. as it were. or to represent them as exclusively the rendezvous of witches or of evil spirits. called the Fated or Fairy Oak of Bourlemont. Thus the Church secured possession of many beautiful pieces of scenery. were in this hostile charge against her described as enchanted implements. revived the drooping courage of the French. as Mr. preserves the memory of such a custom. Did there remain a mineral fountain. but a cruel instance of wicked policy mingled with national jealousy and hatred. took away her life in order to stigmatize her memory with sorcery and to destroy the reputation she had acquired among the French. called the Maid of Orleans. The Duke of Bedford. Henry VI. But in this instance also the alleged . It is true that this policy was not uniformly observed. which beauty of situation had recommended to traditional respect. and hanging on the branches chaplets and garlands of flowers. and perhaps amiable enthusiast. Here she was stated to have repaired during the hours of divine service. doubtless. To the same cause. Whitfield is said to have grudged to the devil the monopoly of all the fine tunes. although Jeanne was condemned both by the Parliament of Bordeaux and the University of Paris. wife of the good Duke Humphrey. respected for the cures which it had wrought. while the wise on both sides considered her as neither the one nor the other. by assigning the virtues of the spring or the beauty of the tree to the guardianship of some saint. or venerated mount. skipping. we may impute the trial of the Duchess of Gloucester. On the contrary. It is well known that this unfortunate female fell into the hands of the English.

at by the Catholics in thus confusing and blending the doctrines of heresy and the practice of witchcraft. when he brought the charge of sorcery against the Queen Dowager. according to their account. abounded especially where the Protestants were most numerous. which. sects who agreed chiefly in their animosity to the supremacy of Rome and their desire to cast off her domination. in laying down rules for the judicial prosecuting of witches. and. The accusation in both cases was only chosen as a charge easily made and difficult to be eluded or repelled. So early as the year 1398 the University of Paris. the bitterness increasing. express their regret that the crime was growing more frequent than in any former age. taking a different direction in different countries. The Romanists became extremely desirous to combine the doctrine of the heretics with witchcraft.witchcraft was only the ostensible cause of a procedure which had its real source in the deep hatred between the Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort. and the queen's kinsmen . as a matter of course. the scrupled not to throw the charge of sorcery. had in almost all of them stirred up a sceptical dissatisfaction with the dogmas of the Church — such views being rendered more credible to the poorer classes through the corruption of manners among the clergy too many of whom wealth and ease had caused to neglect that course of morality which best recommends religious doctrine. Jane Shore. The same pretext was used by Richard III. In the same century schisms arising from different causes greatly alarmed the Church of Rome. upon those who dissented from the Catholic standard of faith. as indeed it has been always remarked that those morbid affections of mind which depend on the imagination are sure to become More common in proportion as public attention is fastened on stories connected with their display. The Waldenses and Albigenses were parties existing in great numbers through the south of France. The universal spirit of enquiry which was now afloat. and how a meeting of inoffensive Protestants could be cunningly identified with a Sabbath of hags and fiends. and yet again was by that unscrupulous prince directed against Morton. The more severe enquiries and frequent punishments by which the judges endeavoured to check the progress of this impious practice seem to have increased the disease. But in the meanwhile. his half-brother. afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. . or the wild solitude of the country. thus fortifying the kingdom of Satan against that of the Church. he accuses the former of embracing the opinion of Wierus and other defenders of the devil (as he calls all who oppose his own opinions concerning witchcraft). In almost every nation in Europe there lurked in the crowded cities. The Jesuit Delrio alleges several reasons for the affinity which he considers as existing between the Protestant and the sorcerer. as the accusation of witchcraft thus afforded to tyranny or policy the ready means of assailing persons whom it might not have been possible to convict of any other crime.* A remarkable passage in Monstrelet puts in a clear view the point aimed. the aspersion itself was gradually considered with increase of terror as spreading wider and becoming more contagious. and other adherents of the Earl of Richmond.

an opinion called. of these Waldenses. “never free from the most wretched excess of fascination . and adds that the Parliament of Paris. and would confess nothing imputed to their charge . who promised them indemnity for life and fortune.” Delrio himself confesses that Franciscus Balduinus give an account of the pretended punishment. where the devil appeared before them in a human form — save that his visage is never perfectly visible to them — read to the assembly a book of his ordinances. by the power of the devil. but adheres with lingering reluctance to the of whom the truth of the accusation. which was concluded by a scene of general profligacy. under cloud of night. but real persecution. This sect consisted. Some there were.” continues Monstrelet. he cannot prevail on himself to acquit the parties charged by such interested accusers with horrors which should hardly have been found proved even upon . to avoid the punishment and the shame attending it. Several of those who had been thus informed against were arrested. seigneurs. and fortune of wealth persons. informing in how he would be obeyed.” he says. Many even of those also confessed being persuaded to take that course by the interrogators. who exacted that such of them as. 1491. in the town of Arras and county of Artois. by these false accusations and forced confessions. distributed a very little money and a plentiful meal. but they. repaired to some solitary spot. both men and women. of certain persons. should banish themselves from that part of the country. “The Waldenses (of whom the Albigenses are a species) were. the Religion of Vaudoisie. After this those of mean condition were executed and inhumanly burnt.” and finally. while the richer and more powerful of the accused ransomed themselves by sums of money. These were so horribly tortured that some of them admitted the truth of the whole accusations. and tortured for so long a time that they also were obliged to confess what was charged against them. having heard the affair by appeal. notwithstanding their mishandling. who suffered with marvellous patience and constancy the torments inflicted on them. amid woods and deserts. in similar terms with Monstrelet. through a terrible and melancholy chance. by an arret dated 20th May. who.“In this year (1459). after which each one of the party was conveyed home to her or his own habitation. fame. and governors of bailliages and ties. though he allows the conduct of the judges to have been most odious. while they constrained them by torture to impeach the persons to whom they belonged. and said. “On accusations of access to such acts of madness. being such names as the examinators had suggested to the persons examined. I know not why. too. were still able to move. arose. whose suspicions are distinctly spoken out. had to give large sums to the judges. prelates. The Jesuit Delrio quote the passage. that they had seen and recognised in their nocturnal assembly many persons rank. to destroy the life. had declared the sentence illegal and the judges iniquitous. and in order.” Monstrelet winds up this shocking narrative by informing us “that it ought not to be concealed that the whole accusation was a stratagem of wicked men for their own covetous purposes. “several creditable persons of the town of Arras were seized and imprisoned along with some foolish men and persons of little consequence. of a truth. it is said. besides. thrown into prison.

and was ever age so afflicted with them as ours? The seats destined for criminals before our judicatories are blackened with persons accused of this guilt. while it stimulated the inquisitors to the unsparing discharge of their duty in searching out and punishing the guilty. they blast the corn on the ground. and punish. the fruits of the trees. in spite of bolts and bars. the grass and herbs of the field. corresponds with the historical notices of repeated persecutions upon this dreadful charge of sorcery. and the increase of cattle . “It is come to our ears. and persevered in his inquiries till human patience was exhausted. And the devil is accounted so good a master that we cannot commit so great a number of his laves to the flames but what there shall arise from their ashes a number sufficient to supply their place.” and so forth. as strongly illustrative of the condition to which the country was reduced.” says the bull. Our dungeons are gorged with them. to which he was afterwards an honour. especially in Italy. rang the tocsin against this formidable crime. that they blight the marriage-bed. about the same period.the most distinct evidence. That prelate consulted Alciatus himself. imprison. Dreadful were the consequences of this bull all over the Continent. according to the civilian's opinion. No day passes that we do not render our tribunals bloody by the dooms which we pronounce. and France . and calculated to make an impression the very reverse probably of that which the writer would have desired:“All those who have afforded us some signs of the approach of Antichrist agree that the increase of sorcery and witchcraft is to distinguish the melancholy period of his advent.” For which reasons the inquisitors were armed with the apostolic power. A bull of Pope Innocent VIII. “ that numbers of both sexes do not avoid to have intercourse with the infernal fiends. the county of Burlia. Germany. and that by their sorceries they afflict both man and beast. Alciatus states that an inquisitor. after which jurisdiction was deferred to the archbishop. others of having merely joined the choral dances around the witches' tree of rendezvous Several of their husbands and . Some were accuse of having dishonoured the crucifix and denied their salvation others of having absconded to keep the Devil's Sabbath. The introduction of that work deserves to be quoted. About 1485 Cumanus burnt as witches forty-one poor women in one year in. or in which we do not return to our homes discountenanced and terrified at the horrible contents of the confessions which it has been our duty to hear. by which it appears that the most active and unsparing inquisition was taking place. who had just then obtained his doctor's degree in civil law. He appeals on this occasion to Florimond's work on Antichrist. the grapes of the vineyard. There are not judges enough to try them. burnt an hundred sorcerers in Piedmont. for a course of hellebore than for the stake. and set forth in the most dismal colours the guilt. In the ensuing years he continued the prosecution with such unremitting zeal that many fled from the country.”* This last statement. and called upon to “convict. fitter. destroy the births of women. and the people arose and drove him out of the country. A number of unfortunate wretches were brought for judgment.

Pierre de Lancre. Before the formidable . as Hutchison reports. and two women being. at the foot of the Pyrenees. “nothing is so calculated to strike terror into the fiend and his dominions as a commission with such plenary powers. made to confess themselves guilty as the cause of the devastation. out the month of May.” from which we may suppose many suffered for heresy. reported to have been committed in Labourt and its neighbourhood. “because. 1.* In 1488. In 1524.” At first. suffered death. and by mere force.” said the judge. Notwithstanding this. so that if. Satan endeavoured to supply his vassals who were brought before the judges with strength to support the examinations. The fiend lost much credit by his failure on this occasion. in all probability.” says Councillor de Lancre." though. with something like a visible obstruction in their throat. so that whole towns were on the point of becoming desolate. with self-complaisance. Forty-eight witches were burnt at Ravensburgh within four years. in the way of direct defiance. boasts that he put to death 900 people in fifteen years. In the beginning of the next century the persecution of witches broke out in France with a fury which was hardly conceivable. by fair means or foul. being gilded. in most cases.000 persons were put to death in one year at Como. 500 persons were executed at Geneva. in Italy. any interval of rest or sleep. the author of the “Malleus Malleficarum. they declared. to put the devil to shame. Some notion of the extreme prejudice of their judges may be drawn from the words of one of the inquisitors themselves. Satan then proceeded. that the profound stupor “had something of Paradise in it. to stop the mouth of the accused openly. to confess and be hanged. A few extracts from the preface will best evince the state of mind in which he proceeded to the discharge of his commission. The judges took care that the fiend seldom obtained any advantage in the matter by refusing their victims. by intermission of the torture. royal councillor in the Parliament of Bordeaux. 1619. About 1515. under the character of “Protestant witches. and about 100 every year after for several years. “with the immediate presence of the devil. on the authority of Mengho. an the minds of the country became at length composed. As many were banished from that country. and multitudes were burnt amid that gay and lively people. with whom the President Espaignel was joined in a commission to enquire into certain acts of sorcery. Remigius. the wretches should fall into a doze. it rather derived its charms from the natural comparison between the insensibility of exhaustion and the previous agony of acute torture.relatives swore that they we in bed and asleep during these pretended excursions Alciatus recommended gentle and temperate measures. or rather burnt. His story assumes the form of a narrative of a direct war between Satan on the one side and the Royal Commissioners on the other. the country four leagues around Constance was laid waste by lightning and tempest.” In Lorraine the learned inquisitor. some of the accused found means. when they were recalled from it to the question. in spite of him.

the Arch-fiend covered his defection by assuring them that he had been engaged in a lawsuit with the Deity. After this grand fiction he confined himself to the petty vengeance of impeding the access of confessors to the condemned. and in whom no one reposed confidence. it was the pleasure of the most Christian Monarch to consign the most absolute power which could be exercised on these poor people. which was the more easy as few of them could speak the Basque language. he stoutly affirmed that their parents. gentlemen who had solicited and promoted the issuing of the Commission. sending as his representative an imp of subordinate account. he abandoned for three or four sittings his attendance on the Sabbaths. of which he is well known to be the father. Again. Proceeding to a yet more close attack. Ashamed of his excuses. and conceited spirit. The priest. placed the gibbet on which they executed their victims just on the spot where Satan's gilded chair was usually stationed. and he might with as much prudence have turned a ravenous wolf upon an undefended flock. and that if their children would call on them they would receive an answer. assuring them that the judicial pile was as frigid and inoffensive as those which he exhibited to them. and the witches were directed to procure such victims accordingly. I have no time to detail the ingenious method by which the learned Councillor de Lancre explains why the district of Labourt should be particularly exposed to the pest of sorcery. on the eve of one of the Fiend's Sabbaths. and look how you have kept your word with us! They have been burnt. taking his refuge in lies.” To appease this mutiny Satan had two evasions He produced illusory fires. and would also burn the Commissioners themselves in their own fire. he had held his cour plénière before the gates of Bourdeaux. The devil was much offended at such an affront. The chief reason seems to be that it is a mountainous. as they were his natural prey. who seemed to have suffered. has composed a quarto volume full of the greatest absurdities and grossest obscenities ever impressed on paper. They made the invocation accordingly. “Out upon you ! Your promise was that our mothers who were prisoners should not die. as well as the ignorant . We regret to say that Satan was unable to execute either of these laudable resolutions.Commissioners arrived. To a person who. and yet had so little power in the matter that he could only express his resentment by threats that lie would hang Messieurs D'Amon and D'Urtubbe. which he had gained with costs. were safe in a foreign country. and in the square of the palace of Galienne. and a border country. and that six score of infant children were to be delivered up to him in name of damages. whereas he was now insulted publicly by his own vassals. trifling. of whom the animal was the natural enemy. the Commissioners. where the men are all fishers and the women smoke tobacco and wear short petticoats. When he took courage again to face his parliament. and Satan answered each of them in a tone which resembled the voice of the lamented parent almost as successfully as Monsieur Alexandre could have done. in this presumptuous. and are a heap of ashes. and in the midst of his festival of the Sabbath the children and relations of the witches who had suffered not sticking to say to him. a sterile. and encouraged the mutinous o walk through them.

who gave himself out for a servant. but was known in other countries. and throttled the dogs which stood in their defence. on the one hand. and was attended in his course by one larger. The more incredulous reasoners would not allow of a real transformation. more idle in other countries of Europe. and De Lancre writes. was tried at Besançon. long the residence . If either had not seen the other. and could only hear the evidence and the defence through the medium of an interpreter. or yeoman pricker. ravaged the flocks. broken with occasional fits of insanity. Such was the general persecution under Messieurs Espiagnel and De Lancre. transformed into the likeness and performed the usual functions of a wolf. with much complacency. if be did not come upon this signal. a superstition which was chiefly current in France. a melancholy state of mind. Scot. These wolves. he rushed out and made havoc among the flocks.* While the spirit of superstition was working such horrors in France. He was.” and the discrepancy of evidence. with better taste. it may be remarked that the accused. that the accused were brought to trial to the number of forty in one day — with what chance of escape. was that a human being had the power. we may believe. after which the crime itself was heard of no more. some. far more than he could devour. In Spain. But De Lancre was no “Daniel come to judgment. made no impression in favour of the sorcerers of Labourt. the understanding of the reader may easily anticipate. when the judges were blinded with prejudice. discharging all future prosecutions for witchcraft. of the Lord of the Forest — so he called his superior — who was judged to be the devil. Many similar scenes occurred in France. Naudé. resembling one of those mutilated trunks of trees found in ancient forests. in what their judges called confessions. and their demonological adversaries on the other. a mere youth. by his master's power. like the animal whom he represented. he howled. fell under the suspicion of this fell Commission. he said. which in some cases was supposed to aid the metamorphosis. he proceeded to bury it the best way he could. some a man disfigured and twisted. All spoke to a sort of gilded throne. and contended that lycanthropy only subsisted as a woful species of disease. being seized with a species of fury.peasant. and the fiend who presided there. Such a person. after the manner of the animal. in which the patient imagined that he committed the ravages of which he was accused. contradicted each other at every turn respecting the description of the Domdaniel in which they pretended to have been assembled. slaying and wasting. which he supposed the Lord of the Forest himself. The idea. and is the subject of great debate between Wier. whether with or without the enchanted hide of a wolf. as suffering torture. by sorcery. particularly. Among other gross transgressions of the most ordinary rules. and in that capacity. of transforming himself into the shape of a wolf. beheld a huge indistinct form. till the edict of Louis XIV. Instances occur in De Lancre's book of the trial and condemnation of persons accused of the crime of 1ycanthropy. which saved the life and fame of Susannah. it was not. but some saw a hideous wild he-goat seated there. said the one party. to call his comrade to his share of the prey.

Doctor Horneck. the other. and other sciences. Both the gentlemen and the mass of the people. there is something resembling virtue in the fidelity with which the common secret is preserved. and a sense of the truth of the common adage. the desire to escape from an unpleasing task. and a specimen of it was exhibited in the sober and rational country of Sweden about the middle of last century. The melancholy truth that “the human heart is deceitful above all things. or at least to natural magic. during the subsistence of the Moorish kingdoms in Spain. nor are such acolytes found to evade justice with less dexterity than the more advanced rogues. learn to despise and avoid falsehood . and their labours cost as much blood on accusations of witchcraft and magic as for heresy and relapse. the business of the Inquisition to purify whatever such pursuits had left of suspicious Catholicism. algebra. on account of the idle falsehoods propagated by a crew of lying children. being translated into English by a respectable clergyman. and imperfectly understood even by those who studied them. which. Where a number of them are concerned in the same mischief. from a surprisingly early period. good and evil genii. find means of rendering children useful in their mystery . who in this case were both actors and witnesses.” is by nothing proved so strongly as by the imperfect sense displayed by children of the sanctity of moral truth. from spite or in mere. will at any time overcome the sentiment of truth. as is experienced by all who have the least acquaintance with early youth. Nor is this all: the temptation of attracting attention. spells and talismans. that the character of a liar is a deadly stain on their honour. and committing great cruelty and injustice. or accomplish a holiday. were necessarily often examined in witch trials . as they advance in years. and . altogether mistaken by the ignorant and vulgar. an account of which. so weak is it within them. but more likely of chemistry. a people putting deep faith in all the day-dreams of witchcraft. Children. were supposed to be allied to necromancy.of the Moors. of magic. and from a remaining feeling.” But these are acquired habits of thinking. gaiety of spirit. If they are charged with fault while they can hardly speak. The child has no natural love of truth. that “honesty is the best policy. under the usual age of their being admitted to give evidence. of course. the first words they stammer forth are a falsehood to excuse it. and relapsed Jews or Mahommedans. the former out of pride. In former times. supported exclusively by the evidence of children (the confessions under torture excepted). But it would be hard to discover a case which. a school was supposed to be kept open in Toboso 'for the study. derived from the days o chivalry. Even the colder nations of Europe were subject to the same epidemic terror for witchcraft. from some general reflection upon the necessity of preserving a character for integrity in the course of life. the ardent and devotional temper of the old Christians dictated a severe research after sorcerers as well as heretics. and it is terrible to see how often the little impostors. the pleasure of enjoying importance. and desperately wicked. Hence thieves and housebreakers. have by their art and perseverance made shipwreck of men's lives. It was. it is said. excited general surprise how a whole people could be imposed upon to the degree of shedding much blood.

a high-crowned hat. and hearts hardened against every degree of compassion to the accused. and were. has been attended with such serious consequences. but chiefly as a mad Merry-Andrew. and with certain ceremonies to invoke the devil by the name of Antecessor. reminding the judges that the province had been clear of witches since the burning of some on a former occasion.obviously existing only in the young witnesses' own imagination. nevertheless. as that which occurred in Sweden. The devil courteously appeared at the call of the children in various forms. as it is called. the number of three hundred. the Brockenberg. a mountain infamous for being the common scene of witches' meetings. therefore. where most of them were executed. so many as threescore and ten witches and sorcerers being seized in the village of Mohra. were that a number of persons. begging him to carry them off to Blockula. that is. were found more or less perfect in a tale as full of impossible absurdities as ever was told around a nursery fire. The scene was the Swedish village of Mohra. with ears open to receive the incredibilities with which they were to be crammed. They demanded. There is here a discrepancy of evidence which in another court would have cast the whole. the belief of . Royal Commissioners were sent down. Some supposed. though the parents unanimously bore witness that the bodies of the children remained in bed. So strong was. lashed weekly at the church doors for a whole year. though they shook them for the purpose of awakening them. with linen of various colours wrapt round it. that their strength or spirit only travelled with the fiend. with a grey coat. in the province of Elfland. which district had probably its name from some remnant of ancient superstition. in the Hartz forest. renowned as witches. The delusion had come to a great height ere it reached the ears of government. as was the general procedure. meaning. a red beard. Their confession ran thus: — They were taught by the witches to go to a cross way. and that their body remained behind. Most of the children considered their journey to be corporeal and actual. men well fitted for the duty entrusted to them . and could not be awakened out of a deep sleep. He set each child on some beast of his providing. to. and to which Goethe represents the spirit Mephistopheles as conducting his pupil Faustus. had drawn several hundred children of all classes under the devil's authority. red and blue stockings. perhaps. and hearing the extraordinary story which the former insisted upon maintaining. The children. The process seems to have consisted in confronting the children with the witches. Six-and-thirty of those who were young were forced to run the gauntlet. Twenty of the youngest were condemned to the same discipline for three days only. and garters of peculiar length. the punishment of these agents of hell. however. besides. threeand-twenty confessed their crimes. Very few adopted this last hypothesis. Fifteen of the children were also led to death. or given cause to so extensive and fatal a delusion. backed by some persons of better condition. and anointed them with a certain unguent composed of the scrapings of altars and the filings of church clocks. and were sent to Faluna. when. The complaints of the common people. The accused were numerous.

but there was this particular. might think they were bewitched or ready to be carried away by imps. spread abroad in the kingdom. as the mode of elongating a goat's back by means of a spit. One old sorceress. The same acts of wickedness and profligacy were committed at Blockula which are usually supposed to take place upon the devil's Sabbath elsewhere. followed out. indeed. they at first stoutly denied them. which was the object of their journey.” he continues. For if it was possible that some of these unfortunate persons fell a sacrifice to the malice of their neighbours or the prejudices of witnesses. “out of so great a multitude as were accused. At last some of them burst into tears. as he seems ready to grant. was a house having a fine gate painted with divers colours. Some attempts these witches had made to harm individuals on middle earth. the slightest part of the gross and vulgar impossibilities upon which alone their execution can be justified? The Blockula. being broth made of coleworts and bacon. if they saw their children any way disordered. into the head of the minister of Elfland . mentioned in the preface.nurses and mothers in their actual transportation. If human beings had been employed they were left slumbering against the wall of the house. there might be some who suffered unjustly. would have deprived the world of the benefit of his translation. some fearful and credulous people. notwithstanding. on which we cafe not to be particular. with many other extravagant circumstances. attempted to strike a nail.” * The learned gentleman here stops short in a train of reasoning. that a sensible clergyman. Nor will I deny. that the witches had sons and daughters by the fiends. and the despairing wretches confirmed what the children said. Their food was homely enough. with a paddock. They said the practice of carrying off children had been enlarged very lately (which shows the whole rumours to have arisen recently). than to allow. and milk and cheese. pretended at one time to be dead. which. in which they turned the beasts to graze which had brought them to such scenes of revelry. who were married together. in convincing his mother that the child had not been transported to Blockula during the very night he held him in his embrace. and produced an offspring of toads and serpents. as truth. how the children bewitched fel into fits and strange unusual postures. and acquiesced in the horrors imputed to them. with bread and butter. I will readily admit. given her by the devil for that purpose. but with little success. is it not more reasonable to believe that the whole of the accused were convicted on similar grounds. the reverend gentleman only felt a . These confessions being delivered before the accused witches. desirous of enjoying his own reputation among his subjects. had the utmost difficulty. The learned translator candidly allows. but as the skull was of unusual solidity. and executed. and owed their death more to the malice of their enemies than to their skill in the black art. It is worth mentioning that the devil. and was much lamented at Blockula — but he soon revived again. “but that when the news of these transactions and accounts. The plan of the devil's palace consisted of one large banqueting apartment and several withdrawing-rooms. condemned. who had resolved he would watch his son the whole night and see what hag or fiend would take him from his arms.

“had caused divers men. that Heaven would be pleased to restrain the powers of the devil. and that the desire to be as much distinguished as their comrade had stimulated the bolder and more acute of his companions to the like falsehoods. as it was considered. whilst those of weaker minds assented. having a hand thrust out of it. and children. both of whom attest the confession and execution of the witches. They could not be persuaded to exhibit any of their tricks before the Commissioners. The Commissioners returned to Court with the high approbation of all concerned. and when they came to Blockula he pulled the children back. as it was termed. Envoy Extraordinary of the same power. It is worth while also to observe. as any portent of the kind within the annals of superstition. in their confessions. If we could ever learn the true explanation of this story.” The translator refers to the evidence of Baron Sparr. who were carried off by hundreds at once. and. which some of them wished to improve upon. “His judges and commissioners. were sure to bear the harder share of the punishment which was addressed to all. and at this expense of blood was extinguished a flame that arose as suddenly. The King of Sweden himself answered the express inquiries of the Duke of Holstein with marked reserve. and that the devil had amused them with the vision of a burning pit. perhaps.” he said. Ambassador from the Court of Sweden to the Court of England in 1672. women. And (they added) this better being would place himself sometimes at the door betwixt the witches and the children. and shows the whole tale to be the fiction of the children's imagination. to be burnt and executed on such pregnant evidence as was brought before them.” This additional evidence speaks for itself. burned as fiercely. that the smarter children began to improve their evidence and add touches to the general picture of Blockula. either from fear of punishment or the force of dreaming over at night the horrors which were dinned into their ears all day. prayers were ordered through the churches weekly. who wished to apologise to his parents for lying an hour longer in the morning by alleging he had been at Blockula on the preceding night. and told them that these doings should not last long. Those who were ingenuous. excusing themselves by alleging that their witchcraft had left them. received praise and encouragement. including fifteen children . But whether the actions confessed and proved against them were real. or only the effects of strong imagination. . which used to forbid them what the devil bid them do. as well as the innocent children. The reader may consult “An Account of what happened in the Kingdom of Sweden in the years 1669 and 1670. and that of Baron Lyonberg. and deliver the poor creatures who hitherto had groaned under it. impenitent. and decayed as rapidly. The total number who lost their lives on this singular occasion was fourscore and four persons.headache from her efforts. he was not as yet able to determine” — a sufficient reason. “ Some of the children talked much of a white angel. and those who denied or were silent. Antony Horneck. but the witches went in.” attached to Glanville's “Sadducismus Triumphatus. and afterwards translated out of High Dutch into English by Dr. we should probably find that the cry was led by some clever mischievous boy.

I — Canon passed by the Convocation against Possession — Case of Mr.” See the Preface. in which some Church of England Clergymen insisted on the Prosecution — Hutchison's Rebuke to them — James the First's Opinion of Witchcraft — His celebrated Statute. — How Witchcraft was regarded by the three Leading Sects of Religion in the Sixteenth Century.” cap. second. * Delrio. “Parerg. by the Calvinists . 22.why punishment should have been at least deferred by the interposition of the royal authority. “De Magia. “Concerning the Antichrist. 7. The Effects of the Witch Superstition are to be traced in the Laws of a Kingdom — Usually punished in England as a Crime connected with Politics — Attempt at Murder for Witchcraft not in itself Capital — Trials of Persons of Rank for Witchcraft. by the Catholics . in which our knowledge as to such events is necessarily more extensive. * Alciat. * Translator's preface to Horneck's ” Account of what happened in the Kingdom of Sweden. * The reader may sup full on such wild horrors in the causes célèbres . Bart. We must now turn our eyes to Britain. and the belief in the Crime becomes forgotten — Witch Trials in New England — Dame Glover's Trial — Affliction of the Parvises. 161. I Jac. quoted by Delrio. connected with State Crimes — Statutes of Henry VIII. Juris. Institor. . and frightful Increase of the Prosecutions — Suddenly put a stop to — The Penitence of those concerned in them. and the execution of the Family of Samuel — That of Jane Wenham. Fairfax's Children — Lancashire Witches in 1613 — Another Discovery in 1634 — Webster's Account of the manner in which the Imposture was managed — Superiority of the Calvinists is followed by a severe Prosecution of Witches — Executions in Suffolk.” p. the cause of these Cruelties — His Brutal Practices — His Letter — Execution of Mr. 820.” 105. LETTER VIII. and also by some Puritanic Clergymen — Statute of 1562.” See appendix to Glanville's work. first. chap. and where it is in a high degree more interesting to our present purpose. viii. Lowis — Hopkins Punished — Restoration of Charles — Trial of Coxe — Of Dunny and Callendar before Lord Hales — Royal Society and Progress of Knowledge — Somersetshire Witches — Opinions of the Populace — A Woman Swum for Witchcraft at Oakly — Murder at Tring — Act against Witchcraft abolished. de Spina. n.” lib. third. and some cases upon it — Case of Dugdale — Case of the Witches of Warbois. the pretended Witchfinder. 5. * Florimond. “De Magia. &c. Hutchinson quotes “H. by the Church of England and Lutherans — Impostures unwarily countenanced by individual Catholic Priests. Dr. de Strigilibus. to a dreadful extent — Hopkins.

A fortiori . than that cowards and children go out more seldom at night. as in every other country. he ought to be executed as a murderer. the proof is necessarily transient and doubtful. where the connexion between the resort to sorcerers and the design to perpetrate a felony could be clearly proved. without greater embarrassment. in tracing this part of Demonology. no doubt. But to attempt or execute bodily harm to others through means of evil spirits. We would not. therefore. were dreaded or despised. with its accompanying circumstances. Superstition dips her hand in the blood of the persons accused. Other superstitions arose and decayed. wave his hat and cry Buzz! accordingly. however idle in itself. be disposed to go the length of so high an authority as Selden. because. The destruction or abstraction of goods by the like instruments. be punishable. and can form an opinion with some degree of certainty of the grounds. Upon such charges repeated trials took place in the courts of the English. But after the fourteenth century the practices which fell under such a description were thought unworthy of any peculiar animadversion. who pronounces (in his “Table-Talk") that if a man heartily believed that lie could take the life of another by waving his hat three times and crying Buzz ! and should. with sufficient justice. would. and records in the annals of jurisprudence their trials and the causes alleged in vindication of their execution. in like manner. no doubt. Respecting other fantastic allegations. depend chiefly on the instances which history contains of the laws and prosecutions against witchcraft. is yet a higher degree of guilt. But in cases of witchcraft we have before us the recorded evidence upon which judge and jury acted. The existence of witchcraft was. It is. the promulgation of such a prediction has. a . and was not. familiar spirits. and the obtaining and circulating pretended prophecies to the unsettlement o the State and the endangering of the King's title. which is the essence of high treason. by the black art. or the like. under this fixed opinion. visited with any statutory penalty. But when the alarm of witchcraft arises. that we have the best chance of obtaining an accurate view of our subject. But a false prophecy of the King's death is not to be dealt with exactly on the usual principle. real or fanciful.OUR account of Demonology in England must naturally. And it may be remarked that the inquiry into the date of the King's life bears a close affinity with the desiring or compassing the death of the Sovereign. the consulting soothsayers. was actionable at common law as much as if the party accused had done the same harm with an arrow or pistol-shot. in a word. on which they acquitted or condemned. and originally punished accordingly. therefore. while the reports of ghosts and fairies are peculiarly current. and condemnations were pronounced. or. in the provinces in which they have a temporary currency. in times such as we are speaking of. indeed. depending upon the inaccurate testimony of vague report and of doting tradition. Thus the supposed paction between a witch and the demon was perhaps deemed in itself to have terrors enough to prevent its becoming an ordinary crime. as in the countries on the Continent. unless they were connected with something which would have been of itself a capital crime. received and credited in England. supposing the charge proved. by whatever means it had been either essayed or accomplished.

who had been esteemed a prophetess. one against false prophecies. invented by the devil. but as the penalty was limited to the pillory for the first transgression. and who acknowledged themselves such before the court and people. suffered for the charge of trafficking with witches. a formal statute against sorcery. In 1521. We have already mentioned the instance of the Duchess of Gloucester. the other against the act of conjuration. About seven years after this. “Vestigia nulla retrorsum. Two remarkable statutes were passed in the Year 1541. the legislature probably regarded those who might be brought to trial as impostors rather than wizards. who in England as well as elsewhere desired to sweep away Popery with the besom of destruction. the Maid of Kent. The sacred motto of the Vatican was. This latter statute was abrogated in the first year of Edward VI. afterwards the Third.” and this rendered it impossible to comply with the more wise and moderate of her own party. as penal in itself. and that of the Queen Dowager's kinsmen. in Henry the Sixth's reign. in the Protectorate of Richard. Many persons. perhaps as placing an undue restraint on the zeal of good Protestants against idolatry. At length. but this pertinacity at length made her citadel too large to be defended at every point by a garrison whom prudence would have required to abandon positions which had been taken in times of darkness. and at the same time against breaking and destroying crosses. She suffered with seven persons who had managed her fits for the support of the Catholic religion. sorcery. In the same reign. But these cases rather relate to the purpose for which the sorcery was employed. But it is here proper to make a pause for the purpose of enquiring in what manner the religious disputes which occupied all Europe about this time influenced the proceedings of the rival sects in relation to Demonology. was actually passed. who would . the Duke of Buckingham was beheaded. to the prejudice of those in authority. owing much to his having listened to the predictions of one Friar Hopkins. or any like craft. There are instances of individuals tried and convicted as impostors and cheats. than to the fact of using it. and sorcery. was put to death as a cheat.. The prohibition against witchcraft might be also dictated by the king's jealous doubts of hazard to the succession. in 1562. Lord Hungerford was beheaded for consulting certain soothsayers concerning the length of Henry the Eighth's life. The enactment against breaking crosses was obviously designed to check the ravages of the Reformers. but in their articles of visitation the prelates directed enquiry to be made after those who should use enchantments. of maintaining every doctrine which her rulers had adopted in dark ages. The Papal Church had long reigned by the proud and absolute humour which she had assumed. and some of great celebrity. witchcraft. witchcraft.strong tendency to work its completion. and were unsuited to the warfare of a more enlightened age. The former enactment was certainly made to ease the suspicious and wayward fears of the tetchy King Henry. and confessed her fraud upon the scaffold.

as a source both of power and of revenue — that if there were no possessions. they might be unwilling to make laws by which their own enquiries in the mathematics. that a wholesome faith in all the absurdities of the vulgar creed as to supernatural influences was necessary to maintain the influence of Diana of Ephesus. with views of ambition as ample as the station of a churchman ought to command. To the system of Rome the Calvinists offered the most determined opposition. The Church of Rome. and at any rate too greatly venerated by the people to be changed merely for opposition's sake. Insensibly they became occupied with the ideas and tenets natural to the common people. and carried into effect with unhesitating. honestly conceived and boldly expressed. and as the countries which adopted that form of government were chiefly poor. be subdued by the spiritual arm alone. a formidable schism in the Christian world. affecting upon every occasion and on all points to observe an order of church-government. Betwixt these extremes the Churchmen of England endeavoured to steer a middle course retaining a portion of the ritual and forms of Rome. if they have usually the merit of being. They suffered spells to be manufactured. As the foundation of this sect was laid in republican states. to be a good Protestant. were gradually thrown on the support of the people. even if they were of a more credulous disposition. Their comparatively undilapidated revenue. and. and could. The learned men at the head of the establishment might safely despise the attempt at those hidden arts as impossible. the connexion of their system with the state. because . and other pursuits vulgarly supposed to approach the confines of magic art. are not the less often adopted with credulity and precipitation. algebra. they held it almost essential to be in all things diametrically opposite to the Catholic form and faith. since every friar had the power of reversing them. as its clerical discipline was settled on a democratic basis. chemistry. in its commencement. and the excellent provisions made for their education afforded them learning to confute ignorance and enlighten prejudice. might be inconveniently restricted. their belief in and persecution of such crimes as witchcraft and sorcery were necessarily modelled upon the peculiar tenets which each system professed. as well as of worship.otherwise have desired to make liberal concessions to the Protestants. Such being the general character of the three Churches. which. Tendered them independent of the necessity of courting their flocks by any means save regular discharge of their duty. was unwilling. — in a word. in of undisputed power. according to her belief. and thus prevent. there could be no exorcism-fees — and. or. gave rise to various results in the countries where they were severally received. to call in the secular arm men for witchcraft a crime which fell especially under ecclesiastical cognizance. harshness and severity. The more selfish part of the priesthood might think that a general belief in the existence of witches should be permitted to remain. in short. they permitted poison to be distilled. the preachers having lost the Tank and opulence enjoyed by the Roman Church. as in themselves admirable. expressly in the teeth of its enactments. as we have seen.

It followed that. that the bull of Pope Innocent VIII. and. and the sign of the cross. regarded the success of the exorcising priest. and excite and direct the public hatred against the new sect by confounding their doctrines with the influence of the devil and his fiends. while the Calvinist. enforced by Adrian VI. The bull of Pope Innocent was afterwards. and the most eager to follow it up with what they conceived to be the due punishment of the most fearful of crimes. by which good Catholics believed that incarnate fiends could be expelled and evil spirits of every kind rebuked — these. the most undoubting believers in its existence. already quoted. on such subjects as we are now discussing. the King of the Devils. with the unceasing desire of open controversy with the Catholics. without doubt. in diametrical opposition to the doctrine of the Mother Church. While Rome thus positively declared herself against witches and sorcerers. while the divines of the Church of England possessed the upper hand in the kingdom. and resented bitterly. and rites. would have styled the same event an operation of the devil. imprison. witchcraft. the Calvinists considered either with scorn and contempt as the tools of deliberate quackery and imposture. in whose numbers must be included the greater part of the English Puritans. the robes of the priest. The exorcisms. or with horror and loathing. in which excommunication was directed against sorcerers and heretics. called to convict. like the holy water. as the fit emblems and instruments of an idolatrous system. in the end of the fifteenth century. yet disapproved of her ritual and ceremonies as retaining too much of the Papal stamp.. who.every convent had the antidote which was disposed of to all who chose to demand it. They assumed in the opposite sense whatever Rome pretended to as a proof of her omnipotent authority. to whatever extent they admitted it. in accordance with their usual policy. On the whole. with a new one. either the eager credulity of the Vulgar mind or the fanatic ferocity of their Calvinistic rivals. above all. But their position in society tended strongly to keep them from adopting. the Calvinists. though trials and even condemnations for that offence . generally speaking. though they had not finally severed from the communion of the Anglican Church. The leading divines of the Church of England were. It was not till the universal progress of heresy. forms. They saw also. as at best a casting out of devils by the power of Beelzebub. in the year 1523. the Calvinists. fundamentally as much opposed to the doctrines of Rome as those who altogether disclaimed opinions and ceremonies merely because she had entertained them. inspired with a darker zeal. and condemn the sorcerers. We have no purpose to discuss the matter in detail — enough has probably been said to show generally why the Romanist should have cried out a miracle respecting an incident which the Anglican would have contemptuously termed an imposture. chiefly because it was the object to transfer the odium of these crimes to the Waldenses. Such of them as did not absolutely deny the supernatural powers of which the Romanists made boast. were of all the contending sects the most suspicions of sorcery. the attempt to confound any dissent from the doctrines of Rome with the proneness to an encouragement of rites of sorcery. ranked themselves.

it usually happened that wherever the Calvinist interest became predominant in Britain. strange sounds. These cases of possession were in some respects sore snares to the priests of the Church of Rome.occasionally occurred. Francis Hutchison will be found to rule the tide and the reflux of such cases in the different churches. did not create that epidemic terror which the very suspicion of the offence carried with it elsewhere. and when her fathers and doctors announced the existence of such a dreadful disease. relics. the crime becomes unfrequent. it was difficult for a priest. Nor did prosecutions on account of such charges frequently involve a capital punishment. and the fact is. furnished another instance of possession. of course. The period was one when the Catholic Church had much occasion to rally around her all the respect that remained to her in a schismatic and heretical kingdom. the Calvinists were more eager than other sects in searching after the traces this crime. to cure it. or cases of conviction at least . and pursuing it to the expiation of the fagot. while they were too sagacious not to be aware that the pretended fits. ceases to occupy the public mind. it did neither the one nor the other. Fearing and hating sorcery more than other Protestants. a general persecution of sorcerers and witches seemed to take place of consequence. supposing him more tender of the interest of his order than that of truth. The passing of Elizabeth's statute against witchcraft in 1562 does not seem to have been intended to increase the number of trials. by the faith reposed in them. charges and convictions will be found augmented in a terrific degree. and affords little trouble to the judges. and stood in the pillory for impostors. In a word. When the accusations are disbelieved and dismissed as not worthy of attention. a principle already referred to by Dr. produced as evidence of the demon's influence on the possessed person. Two children were tried in 1574 for counterfeiting possession. and of the power of the church's prayers. so that Reginald Scot and others alleged it was the vain pretences and empty forms of the Church of Rome. to avoid such a tempting opportunity as a supposed case of possession . On the other hand. in making discoveries of guilt. which had led to the belief of witchcraft or sorcery in general. will increase or decrease according as such doings are accounted probable or impossible. Under the former supposition. The strong influence already possessed by the Puritans may probably be sufficient to account for the darker issue of certain cases. but she also confessed her imposture. contortions. and. and take the credit of curing them. and other extravagances. and ceremonies. connecting its ceremonies and usages with those of the detested Catholic Church. as they might suppose. were nevertheless often tempted to admit them as real. who. and publicly showed her fits and tricks of mimicry. were nothing else than marks of imposture by some idle vagabond. Mildred Norrington. called the Maid of Westwell. and their supposed dealings with Satan. and entertained a strong and growing suspicion that legitimate grounds for such trials seldom actually existed. The numbers of witches. in which both juries and judges in Elizabeth's time must be admitted to have shown fearful severity. while learned judges were jealous of the imperfection of the evidence to support the charge. unusually successful.

The memorable case of Richard Dugdale. the Dissenters. Such combinations were sometimes detected. dropped in the supposed sufferer's presence. and they got so regardless of Satan as to taunt him with the mode in which he executed his promise to teach his vassal dancing. This person threw himself into the hands of the Dissenters. We have already stated that. and we have now to add that they also claimed. in their violent opposition to the Papists. to shuffle feet and brandish knees thus. or to abstain from conniving at the imposture. mightgive him the necessary information what was the most exact mode of performing his part. and during his possession played a number of fantastic tricks. was a very gross fraud. in which Roman ecclesiastics had not hesitated to mingle themselves. he wanted no further instruction how to play it. ceremonies. It was hardly to be wondered at. not much different from those exhibited by expert posture-masters of the present day. instructed by a Catholic priest to impeach her grandmother of witchcraft. in order to obtain for his church the credit of expelling the demon. The following specimen of raillery is worth commemoration: — “What. At this he might hesitate the less. Harsnett's celebrated book on Popish Impostures. caught at an opportunity to relieve an afflicted person. Canst thou dance no better? &c. who weekly attended the supposed sufferer. That of Grace Sowerbutts. and relics. On this subject the reader may turn to Dr. if the ecclesiastic was sometimes induced to aid the fraud of which such motives forbade him to be the detector. in their eagerness. and brought more discredit on the Church of Rome than was counterbalanced by any which might be more cunningly managed. however. was one of the most remarkable which the Dissenters brought forward. All respect for the demon seems to have abandoned the reverend gentlemen. and to trip like a doe and skip like a squirrel? And wherein differ thy leapings from the . that power of expelling devils which the Church of Rome pretended to exercise by rites. wherein he gives the history of several notorious cases of detected fraud. since a hint or two. Ransack the old records of all past times and places in thy memory. called the Surrey Impostor. Such cases were not. They fixed a committee of their number. on condition of being made the best dancer in Lancashire. limited to the ecclesiastics of Rome. who. whose case the regular clergy appeared to have neglected. Satan! is this the dancing that Richard gave himself to thee for? &c. This youth was supposed to have sold his soul to the devil. and if the patient was possessed by a devil of any acuteness or dexterity. as extremes usually approach each other. canst thou not there find out some better way of trampling? Pump thine invention dry. as he was not obliged to adopt the suspected and degrading course of holding an immediate communication in limine with the impostor. and exercised themselves in appointed days of humiliation and fasting during the course of a whole year. cannot the universal seed-plot of subtile wiles and stratagems spring up one new method of cutting capers? 'Is this the top of skill and pride. adopted some of their ideas respecting demoniacs.offered for displaying the high privilege in which his profession made him a partaker. by the vehemence of prayer and the authority o their own sacred commission. after they had relieved guard in this manner for some little time.

out of the estate of the poor persons who suffered. Cambridge. and of the government which established laws against it. and other advantages. Such imaginary scenes. took a whim that she had bewitched her. and most readers may remember having had some Utopia of their own. A singular case is mentioned of three women.hoppings of a frog. at a time when she was not very well. however simple. he is under the necessity of acknowledging that some regular country clergymen so far shared the rooted prejudices of congregations. dispatched by the wicked Mother . one Samuel and his wife were old and very poor persons. and the eldest of them at last got up a vastly pretty drama. and was cured of that part of his disease which was not affected in a regular way par ordonnance du médecin. from education. and even in countenancing the superstitious signs by which in that period the vulgar thought it possible to ascertain the existence of the afflictions by witchcraft. in which she herself furnished all the scenes and played all the parts. it would have been this occasion. or friskings of a dog. turned it into a rent-charge of forty shillings yearly. so. having received the sum of forty pounds as lord of the manor. or gesticulations of a monkey? And cannot a palsy shake such a loose lea as that ? Dost thou not twirl like a calf that hath the turn. their story is a matter of solemn enough record. “This merriment of parsons is extremely offensive. and twitch up thy houghs just like a springhault tit?”* One might almost conceive the demon replying to this raillery in the words of Dr. they were less prone to prejudice than those of other sects. which now attracted little notice. to be preached by a doctor or bachelor of divinity of Queen's College. The other children of this fanciful family caught up the same cry. are yet far from being entirely free of the charge of encouraging in particular instances the witch superstition. until seconded by the continued earnestness of their private devotions! The ministers of the Church of England. and obtain the knowledge of the perpetrator. They said that the effect of their public prayers had been for a time suspended. Johnson. Dugdale. are the common amusement of lively children . seeing the poor old woman in a black knitted cap. they relinquished their task by degrees. intercourse with the world. after their year of vigil. to achieve a complete cure on Dugdale by an amicable understanding. But the reverend gentlemen who had taken his case in hand still assumed the credit of curing him. weary of his illness. attended a regular physician. Throgmorton. But the nursery drama of Miss Throgmorton had a horrible conclusion. or the bouncings of a goat. and was ever after exclaiming against her. and their daughter a young woman. as to be active in the persecution of the suspected. though. or make-believe stories. The daughter of a Mr. The accused. Hutchison pleads that the Church of England has the least to answer for in that matter. and if anything could have induced them to sing Te Deum. for the endowment of an annual lecture on the subject of witchcraft. Indeed. This young lady and her sisters were supposed to be haunted by nine spirits. called the Witches of Warbois. Even while Dr. for Sir Samuel Cromwell.” The dissenters were probably too honest.

you are little. Smack?” says the afflicted young lady . Blue. They disappeared after having threatened vengeance upon the conquering Smack. Smack answered.” This most pitiful mirth. and three Smacks.” On this repulse. great cowl-staves. Joan. or Jane. “that you are able to beat them.Samuel for that purpose. tore her cap from her head. Blue. to the spirits who afflicted them.” “He cared not for that. her landlady. on her return home. and promised to protect her against Mother Samuel herself. and whose fancy ran apparently on love and gallantry). and enter Pluck. about fifteen. and when Mr. Catch. who were cousins. and the third with his arm in a sling. in vain that she underwent unresistingly the worst usage at the hand of Lady Cromwell. and the following curious extract will show on what a footing of familiarity the damsel stood with her spiritual gallant : “From whence come you. for such it certainly is. yet the poor woman incurred deeper suspicion when she expressed a wish to leave a house where she was so coarsely treated and lay under such odious suspicions. “I wonder. as the witch-creed of that period recommended. it was sagaciously concluded that she must have fallen a victim to the witcheries of the terrible Dame Samuel. when the children in their fits returned answers. informed her he came from fighting with Pluck: the weapons.” “Is that the thanks I am to have for my labour?” said the disappointed Smack. Nay. and gave it to Mrs. as was supposed.” said Mrs. and Catch. supposed that one of the Smacks was her lover. be had broken Pluck's head. Mrs. and when the patients from time to time recovered. I pray you?” said the damsel. as her ladyship died in a year and quarter from that very day. “And who got the mastery. the scene. “I would. and they very big. who. the first with his head broken. and especially of the old dame and her cat. and his cousins Smacks would beat the other two. “I would you were all hanged up against each other. a ruinous bakehouse in Dame Samuel's yard. and. with your dame for company. like other young women of her age. all trophies of Smack's victory. he soon afterwards appeared with his laurels. had some disease on her nerves. Mr. was mixed with tragedy enough. The names of the spirits were Pluck. scratch her. “he had broken your neck also. Joan Throgmorton. “Look you for thanks at my hand?” said the distressed maiden. However. and torture her. clipped out some of her hair. Hardname. Mr. the eldest (who. did battle for her with the less friendly spirits. Mother Samuel's complaisance in the latter case only led to a new charge. It happened that the Lady Cromwell. abusing her with the worst epithets. The sapient parents heard one part of the dialogue. Throgmorton to burn it for a counter-charm. Throgmorton also compelled the old woman and her . He told her of his various conflicts. the other limping. Throgmorton brought her to his house by force. for yon are all naught. exit Smack. dreamed of her day's work. “and what news do you bring?” Smack. nothing abashed. the little fiends longed to draw blood of her. It was in vain that this unhappy creature endeavoured to avert their resentment by submitting to all the ill-usage they chose to put upon her.” he replied.” said the damsel. Miss Throgmorton and her sisters railed against Dame Samuel. they furnished the counterpart by telling what the spirits had said to them. “he would beat the best two of them.

and this was accounted a proof that the poor woman. as provided by Sir Samuel Cromwell. for the purposes of justice were never so perverted. to show her sanity of mind and the real value of her confession. in which the poor old victim joined loudly and heartily. It was a singular case to be commemorated by an annual lecture. These unfortunate Samuels were condemned at Huntingdon. He reprieved the . She was advised by some. was induced to say to the supposed spirit.daughter to use expressions which put their lives in the Power of these malignant children. 1593. caught at the advice recommended to her daughter. Some there were who thought it no joking matter. who pitied her youth. and that the devil must be the father. though mainly for the sake of contrast. was at length worried into a confession of her guilt by the various vexations which were practised on her. We may here mention. The last showed a high spirit and proud value for her character. justice Fenner. Goody Samuel. than many persons placed in the like circumstances. however mean. Under such proof the jury brought her in guilty. which was of a much later date. only subdued and crushed by terror and tyranny. saved the country from the ultimate disgrace attendant on too many of these unhallowed trials. and out of a perverted examination they drew what they called a confession. I charge thee to come out of the maiden. as she was termed. The usual sort of evidence was brought against this poor woman. But the good sense of the judge. and were inclined to think they had a Joanna Southcote before them. the prisoner. nor her sword turned to a more flagrant murder. who. Dame Samuel. One is ashamed of an English judge and jury when it must be repeated that the evidence of these enthusiastic and giddy-pated girls was deemed sufficient to the condemnation of three innocent persons. The witchfinder practised upon her the most vulgar and ridiculous tricks or charms. the much-disputed case of Jane Wenham. but gave their countenance to some of the ridiculous and indecent tricks resorted to as proofs of witchcraft by the lowest vulgar. I will not be both held witch and strumpet!” The mother. to gain at least a respite by pleading pregnancy. As her years put such a plea out of the question. indeed. and not only encouraged the charge. “As I am a witch. For example. Some of the country clergy were carried away by the land-flood of superstition in this instance also. though of a forced and mutilated character. “No. before Mr. and a causer of Lady Cromwell's death. to which she answered disdainfully. But her husband and daughter continued to maintain their innocence. who could not understand that the life of an English-woman. Jane Wenham was tried before a sensible and philosophic judge. did as she was bidden.” The girl lay still. should be taken away by a set of barbarous tricks and experiments. seconded by that of other reflecting and sensible persons. the Witch of Walkerne. and she was necessarily condemned to die. More fortunate. was a witch. there was a laugh among the unfeeling audience. by pretences of bewitched persons vomiting fire — a trick very easy to those who chose to exhibit such a piece of jugglery amongst such as rather desire to be taken in by it than to detect the imposture. 4th April. the efficacy of which depended on popular credulity. who had carried on the farce so long that they could not well escape from their own web of deceit but by the death of these helpless creatures. however.

and offered to let you swim her ? “(3) When you used the meanest of paganish and popish superstitions — when you scratched and mangled and ran pins into her flesh. she laid them down very submissively. This was her behaviour. and . in her innocent simplicity. it was not an usual point of their professional character. edifying her visitors by her accuracy and attention in repeating her devotions. Colonel Plummer of Gilston. I ask you (5) Whether you have not more reason to give God thanks that you met with a wise judge. never afterwards gave the slightest cause of suspicion or offence till her dying day. fell upon her knees. and you gave way to that barbarous usage that she met with. excepting in that case where she complied with you too much. Dr Hutchison has been led to dilate upon it with some strength of eloquence as well as argument. He thus expostulates with some of the better class who were eager for the prosecution: — “(1) What single fact of sorcery did this Jane Wenham do? What charm did she use. she protested her innocence. who kept you from shedding innocent blood. instead of closing your book with a liberavimus animas nostras and reflecting upon the court. and reviving the meanest and cruelest of all superstitions amongst us?”* But although individuals of the English Church might on some occasions be justly accused of falling into lamentable errors on a subject where error was so general. when she was called witch and bitch. What single fact that was against the statute could you fix upon her? I ask (2) Did she so much as speak an imprudent word. in honest and fair reputation. removed from her brutal and malignant neighbours. when her door was broken open. and used that ridiculous trial of the bottle. that you could put into the narrative of her case? When she was denied a few turnips. or do an immoral action. and a sensible gentleman. and it must be admitted that the most severe of the laws against witchcraft originated with a Scottish King of England. The rest of the history is equally a contrast to some we have told and others we shall have to recount.witch before be left the assize-town. and at her trial she declared herself a clear woman. &c. Here she lived and died. and. she only took the proper means for the vindication of her good name . As this was one of the last cases of conviction in England. A humane and high-spirited gentleman. or what act of witchcraft could you prove upon her? Laws are against evil actions that can be proved to be of the person's doing. placed the poor old woman in a small house near his own and under his immediate protection. — whom did you consult. putting at defiance popular calumny. would have let you swim her. And what could any of us have done better. and from whom did you expect your answers? Who was your father? and into whose hands did you put yourselves? and (if the true sense of the statute had been turned upon you) which way would you have defended yourselves? (4) Durst you have used her in this manner if she had been rich? and doth not her poverty increase rather than lessen your guilt in what you did ? “And therefore. and begged she might pot go to gaol. and. when she saw this storm coming upon her she locked herself in her own house and tried to keep herself out of your cruel hands.

and were naturally. describing witchcraft by all the various modes and ceremonies in which. and the turbulent Francis Stewart. according to King James's fancy. James succeeded to Elizabeth amidst the highest expectations on the part of his new people. establishing that no minister or ministers should in future attempt to expel any devil or. The English statute against witchcraft. when it was at the highest.that the only extensive persecution following that statute occurred during the time of the Civil Wars. is therefore of a most special nature. each of which was declared felony. passed in the very first year of that reign. appear to have led at first to many . without the license of his bishop . by which words and numbers were the only sufferers. devils. had upon much lighter occasions (as in the case of Vorstius) showed no hesitation at throwing his royal authority into the scale to aid his arguments — very naturally used his influence. embracing in their fullest extent the most absurd and gross of the popular errors on this subject. for. if not the mere creature of imposture. He considered his crown and life as habitually aimed at by the sworn slaves of Satan. were also proud of his supposed abilities and real knowledge of books and languages. and disgraceful folly among the inferior church-men. Men might now be punished for the practice of witchcraft. Thus the king. in the attempt to relieve demoniacs from a disease which was commonly occasioned by natural causes. It is remarkable that in the same year. besides the more harmless freak of becoming a prentice in the art of poetry. whese repeated attempts on his person had long been James's terror. seeing the ridicule brought on their sacred profession by forward and presumptuous men. had begun his Course of rebellion by a consultation with the weird sisters and soothsayers. disposed to gratify him by deferring to his judgment in matters wherein his studies were supposed to have rendered him a special proficient. however. to extend and enforce the laws against a crime which he both hated and feared. Earl of Bothwell. and who conceived he knew them from experience to be his own — who. as itself a crime. besides their general satisfaction at coming once more under the rule of a king. without benefit of clergy. they passed a canon. The new statute of James does not. who. that crime could be perpetrated. without necessary reference to the ulterior objects of the perpetrator. Several had been executed for an attempt to poison him by magical arts. thereby virtually putting a stop to a fertile source of knavery among the people. the monarch had composed a deep work upon Demonology. This gave much wider scope I o prosecution on the statute than had existed under the milder acts of Elizabeth. though imprudently. when the Calvinists obtained for a short period a predominating influence in the councils of Parliament. who had proved with his pert the supposed sorcerers to be the direct enemies of the Deity. when the legislature rather adopted the passions and fears of the king than expressed their own by this fatal enactment. Unfortunately. the Convocation of the Church evinced a very different spirit. moreover.

gave a most cruel advantage against the accused. is uncertain. Whether the first notice of this sorcery sprung from the idle head of a mischievous boy. but that the evidence of the sufferers related to the appearance of their spectre . The admitting this last circumstance to be a legitimate mode of proof. the fatal sentence was to rest. To hear thy harp. Barons of Exchequer. be confuted even by the most distinct alibi . was to place the life and fame of the accused in the power of any hypochondriac patient or malignant impostor. a witch redoubted under the name of Dembdike. being no other than Edward Fairfax of Fayston.prosecutions. The report against these people is drawn up by Thomas Potts. according to the ideas of the demonologists. The obvious tendency of this doctrine. strange to tell. an account of whom may be . as if enjoying and urging on the afflictions which she complained of. An obliging correspondent sent me a sight of a copy of this curious and rare book. but that of their imagination. not upon the truth of the witnesses' eyes. The original story ran thus: — These Lancaster trials were at two periods. the translator of Tasso's “Jerusalem Delivered. Mr. that they brought in a verdict of not guilty. The celebrated case of ” the Lancashire witches” (whose name was and will be long remembered. by imps. the spectrum of the accused old man or old woman. by British Fairfax strung. in Knaresborough Forest. a scholar of classical taste. and. or apparition. for it could not. and made so wise and skilful a charge to the jury. Collins has introduced the following elegant lines: — “How have I sate while piped the pensive wind. as to visionary or spectral evidence. whose corporeal presence must indeed have been obvious to every one in the room as well as to the afflicted. It happened fortunately for Fairfax's memory. and this was accounted a sure sign of guilt in those whose forms were so manifested during the fits of the afflicted. Prevailing poet.” In allusion to his credulity on such subjects. that the objects of his prosecution were persons of good character. and another of the name of Preston at York. before Sir James Altham and Sir Edward Bromley. partly from Shadwell's play. but there is no doubt that it was speedily caught up and fostered for the purpose of gain. One of the most remarkable was (proh pudor! ) instigated by a gentleman. as it was called. followed soon after. Fairfax accused six of his neighbours of tormenting his children by fits of an extraordinary kind. or aver she saw. whose undoubting mind Believed the magic wonders which he sung!” Like Mr. and a beautiful poet. when nineteen witches were tried at once at Lancaster. and by appearing before the afflicted in their own shape during the crisis of these operations. To a defence of that sort it was replied that the afflicted person did not see the actual witch. Throgmorton in the Warbois case. the one in 1613. and that the judge was a man of sense. and who were complained of and cried out upon by the victim. but more from the ingenious and well-merited compliment to the beauty of the females of that province which it was held to contain). who might either seem to see. The chief person age in the drama is Elizabeth Southam.

Among other tales. visible nowhere else. perhaps) in one of the glades of the forest. and knew. he saw two greyhounds. and took Robinson before her. we have one of two female devils. a very poor man. into which Edmund Robinson entered with others. Old Robinson. the scene of the alleged witching. In that which follows the accusation can be more clearly traced to the most villanous conspiracy. whose father. saying ” Nay. dwelt in Pendle Forest. and against the alleged accomplice also. to the great displeasure of the ignorant people of the county. But it ended in near a score of persons being committed to prison. travelling priests. The witness averred that Mother Dickenson offered him money to conceal what he had seen. who had been an evidence against the former witches in 1613. He there saw six or seven persons pulling at halters. went along with his son. The boy reported that. and some of their spells are given in which the holy names and things alluded to form a strange contrast with the purpose to which they were applied. the dogs refused to run. “ on their own examinations and confessions. for. to speak the truth. Such was the first edition of the Lancashire witches. They then rode to a large house or barn called Hourstoun.” Apparently she was determined he should have full evidence of the truth of what he said. thou art a witch. Mother Dembdike had the good luck to die before conviction.” and. complete a rustic feast. and the consequence was that young Robinson was carried from church to church in the neighbourhood. hellish and damnable practices. He was directly changed into a horse. which he imagined to belong to gentlemen in that neighbourhood.seen in Mr. There was more to the same purpose — as the boy's having seen one of these haps sitting half-way up his father's chimney. which he refused. she pulled out of her pocket a bridle and shook it over the head of the boy who had so lately represented the other greyhound. He declared that while engaged in the charm they made such ugly faces and looked so fiendish that he was frightened. in the boy's fancy. porringers of milk. On this. but though a hare was started.” as well as a description of Manikins' Tower. “ apparent. the witches' place of meeting. It is remarkable that some of the unfortunate women endeavoured to transfer the guilt from themselves to others with whom they had old quarrels. seeing nobody following them. meat ready dressed came flying in quantities. as to secure a good brewing of ale or the like. that he might recognise the faces of any persons he had seen at the rendezvous of witches. About 1634 a boy called Edmund Robinson. . Roby's ” Antiquities of Lancaster. It appears that this remote county was full of Popish recusants. he proposed to have a course. which confessions were held good evidence against those who made them. as they pulled them. from which. called Fancy and Tib. mischances. The public imputed to the accused parties a long train of murders. conspiracies. when one Dame Dickenson. young Robinson was about to punish them with a switch. and some such goodly matter. and so forth.” says the editor. declared that while gathering bullees (wild plums. Several of the unhappy women were found not guilty. a neighbour's wife. together with lumps of butter. charms. Mother Dickenson mounted. started up instead of the one greyhound. a little boy instead of the other. and whatever else might. like the Magician Queen in the Arabian Tales.

he was gathering plums in a neighbour's orchard. says he. where I. and as the King's party declined during the Civil War. in those unsettled times. In the presence of a great many many people I took the boy near me and said.” says Webster.” After prayers Mr. Sussex. in Scotland. or did not some person teach thee to say such things of thyself?' But the two men did pluck the boy from me. But it is not to be denied that the Presbyterian ecclesiastics who. The great Civil War had been preceded and anticipated by the fierce disputes of the ecclesiastical parties.* There was now approaching a time when the law against witchcraft. “ was brought into the church at Kildwick. and the severe prosecutions in the Star Chamber and Prerogative Courts. was preaching at the time. Wier has considered the clergy of every sect as being too eager in this species of persecution: Ad gravem hanc impietatem.doubtless. who. a parish church. To this general error must impute the misfortune that good men. in his more advanced years. such as Calamy and Baxter. were often appointed by the Privy Council Commissioners for the trial of witchcraft. which made some little disturbance for the time. and a keen desire to extend and enforce the legal penalties against it. and they never asked him such a question. ' Good boy. With much strict morality and pure practice of religion. The rash and ill-judged attempt to enforce upon the Scottish a compliance with the government and ceremonies of the High Church divines. “ did conduct him and manage the business: I did desire some discourse with the boy in private. Norfolk. it is to be regretted these were still marked by unhesitating belief in the existence of sorcery. evinced a very extraordinary degree of credulity in such cases. and the state of church-government was altered. how to make his journey profitable. didst thou hear and see such strange things of the motions of the witches as many do report that thou didst relate.'“ The boy afterwards acknowledged. to look about him. and his son probably took care to recognise none who might make a handsome consideration. To whom I replied. for a season a great degree of popularity in England. that he was instructed and suborned to swear these things against the accused persons by his father and others. and that the temporary superiority of the same sect in England was marked by enormous cruelties of this kind. connivent theologi plerique omnes . was to be pushed to more violent extremities than the quiet scepticism of the Church of England clergy gave way to. pretended to discover witches. should have countenanced or defended such proceedings as those of the impudent and cruel wretch called Matthew Hopkins. ' The persons accused had the more wrong. sufficiently bloody in itself. Webster sought and found the boy. and Huntingdon. and. travelling through the counties of Essex. but that they utterly denied. superintending . and was heard often to confess that on the day which be pretended to see the said witches at the house or barn. tell me truly and in earnest. the influence of the Calvinistic divines increased. “ This boy. and two very unlikely persons. being then curate there. assumed the title of Witchfinder General. when men did what seemed good in their own eyes. and said be had been examined by two able justices of peace. who. had given the Presbyterian system.

” and without doing him the justice due to one who had discovered more than one hundred witches. just as a blight on any tree or vegetable calls to life a peculiar insect to feed upon and enjoy the decay which it has produced.” Mr. and see there was no fraud or wrong done them. the issue of which was the forfeiture of their lives. was one that was hanged. to . In his defence against an accusation of fleecing the country. learned. including charges of living and journeying thither and back again with his assistants. in Essex. learned his trade of a witchfinder. I will quote Baxter's own words. with an assistant named Sterne. and told her to keep it in a can near the fire. The hanging of a great number of witches in 1645 and 1646 is famously known. and thrust pins into various parts of their body. pious. and he. Before examining these cases more minutely. and that one of them was always putting him upon doing mischief. and moved from one place to another. Perhaps the learned divine was one of those who believed that the Witchfinder General had cheated the devil out of a certain memorandum-book. Mr. He was perhaps a native of Manningtree. named Lowis. affecting more zeal and knowledge than other men. Baxter passes on to another story of a mother who gave her child an imp like a mole. and be consented. and compelling forlorn and miserable wretches to admit and confess matters equally absurd and impossible. he resided there in the year 1644. at any rate. and a female. in which Satan. such as that divine most unquestionably was. I spoke with many understanding. as he pretends. though borne aside on this occasion by prejudice and credulity. He also affirms that he went nowhere unless called and invited. and that Hopkins availed himself of this record. and credible persons that lived in the counties. Calamy went along with the judges on the circuit to hear their confessions. and she would never want. Upon this occasion he had made himself busy. Among the rest an old reading. His principal mode of discovery was to strip the accused persons naked. when an epidemic outcry of witchcraft arose in that town. from experiment. and more such stuff as nursery-maids tell froward children to keep them quiet. it moved him to send it to sink the ship. who confessed that he had two imps. not far from Framlingham. being near the sea. and heard their sad confessions. and some that went to them in the prisons.their examination by the most unheard-of tortures.”* It may be noticed that times of misrule and violence seem to create individuals fatted to take advantage from them. and. had entered all the witches' names in England. and brought them to confessions. he declares his regular charge was twenty shillings a town. A monster like Hopkins could only have existed during the confusion of civil dissension. which that good man received as indubitable. and saw the ship sink before them. for the benefit of his memory certainly. for no one can have less desire to wrong a devout and conscientious man. as he saw a ship under sail. and having a character suited to the seasons which raise them into notice and action. He was afterwards permitted to perform it as a legal profession.parson . It is remarkable that in this passage Baxter names the Witchfinder General rather slightly as ” one Hopkins.

a clergyman. in treating of this mode of trial. in consequence. and so dragged through a pond or river. and Hopkins. in Huntingdonshire. with their families and estates. and cowardice:“ My service to your worship presented.discover the witch's mark. lie affirms that both practices were then disused. I will come to Kimbolton this week. of Houghton. and forced to recant it by the Committee* in the same place. The boast of the English nation is a manly independence and common-sense. and betake me to such places where I do and may punish (not only) without control. It was Hopkins's custom to keep the poor wretches waking. which will not long permit the license of tyranny or oppression on the meanest and most obscure sufferers. and no argument. and at which she was also said to suckle her imps. else I shall waive your shire (not as yet beginning in any part of it myself). but I would certainly know before whether your town affords many sticklers for such cattle. which was supposed to be inflicted by the devil as a sign of his sovereignty. I much marvel such evil men should have any (much more any of the clergy. Many clergymen and gentlemen made head against the practices of this cruel oppressor of the defence-less. and. but with thanks and recompense. doubtless. Mr. I intend to give your town a visit suddenly. on the principle of King James.-I have this day received a letter to come to a town called Great Houghton to search for evil-disposed person's called witches (though I hear your minister is far against us. to put infirm. or is willing to give and allow us good welcome and entertainment. through ignorance). so it is just that the element through which the holy rite is enforced should reject them. and it required courage to do so when such an unscrupulous villain had so much interest. having the great toes and thumbs tied together. and sufferers themselves. overwatched persons in the next state to absolute madness. who. as others where I have been. bullying. and that they had not of late been resorted to. which is a figure of speech. in order to prevent them from having encouragement from the devil. So I humbly take my leave. as witches have renounced their baptism. the accused was condemned. I have known a minister in Suffolk as much against this discovery in a pulpit. and for the same purpose they were dragged about by their keepers till extreme weariness and the pain of blistered feet might form additional inducements to confession. God willing. who should daily speak terror to convince such offenders) stand up to take their parts against such as are complainants for the king. and rest your . I intend to come. Gaul. had the courage to appear in print on the weaker side. terrified. it was received in favour of the accused. He also practised and stoutly defended the trial by swimming. when the suspected person was wrapped in a sheet. Hopkins confesses these last practices of keeping the accused persons waking and forcing them to walk for the same purpose had been originally used by him. the sooner to hear his singular judgment in the behalf of such parties. but if the body floated (which must have occurred ten times for once. If she sank. which is an admirable medley of impudence. assumed the assurance to write to some functionaries of the place the following letter. But as his tract is a professed answer to charges of cruelty and oppression. and it will be ten to one but I will come to your town first. if it was placed with care on the surface of the water). lays down that.

Notwithstanding the story of his alleged confession. be defended himself courageously at his trial. and if they see any spiders or flies. 6th May. Mr. or any man. He showed at the execution considerable energy. one of whom. till executed as a wizard on such evidence as we have seen. a village in Suffolk. they may be sure they are their imps. who quotes a letter from the relict of the humane gentleman. dismissed the witchfinders. In the year 1645 a Commission of Parliament was sent down. they shall within that time see her imp come and suck. and certainly was so at the time he made the admission. he read it aloud for himself while on the road to the gibbet. whose death is too slightly announced by Mr. and was probably condemned rather as a royalist and malignant than for any other cause. Hutchison may be referred to. in short. and after due food and rest the poor old woman could recollect nothing of the confession. and lest they should come in some less discernible shape. whose widow survived to authenticate the story. John Lewis was presented to the vicarage of Brandiston. Fairclough of Kellar. where he lived about fifty years. whence coming and whither bound. “ Matthew Hopkins. We have seen that in 1647 Hopkins's tone became lowered. Lewis.” The sensible and courageous Mr. they say. she is placed in the middle of a room. “ Having taken the suspected witch. A little hole is likewise made in the door for the imps to come in at. to kill them. and if they cannot kill them. some evidence of a vessel being lost at the period. But in another cause a judge would have demanded some proof of the corpus delecti. For this Dr. near Framlington in Suffolk. but that she gave a favourite pullet the name of Nan. to have indeed become so weary of his life as to acknowledge that. and had confessed all the usual enormities. for.” If torture of this kind was applied to the Reverend Mr. to which. or in some other uneasy posture. took the woman out of such inhuman bands. something to establish that the whole story was not the idle imagination of a man who might have been entirely deranged. . they that watch are taught to be ever and anon sweeping the room. by means of his imps. Baxter. comprehending two clergymen in esteem with the leading party. there she is watched and kept without meat or sleep for four-andtwenty hours. “ Her imp. he sunk a vessel. “ was called Nan.” she said. 1596. without any purpose of gratification to be procured to himself by such iniquity. Gaul describes the tortures employed by this fellow as equal to any practised in the Inquisition. cross-legged. upon a stool or table. she is then bound with cords. if she submits not.servant to be commanded.” A gentleman in the neighbourhood. we can conceive him. and he began to disavow some of the cruelties he had formerly practised. and to secure that the funeral service of the church should be said over his body. was so indignant that he went to the house. About the same time a miserable old woman had fallen into the cruel hands of this miscreant near Hoxne. after being without food or rest a sufficient time.

who. were hang'd for witches. and finally combated with and overcome them. he stood convicted of witchcraft and so the country was rid of him. but he has had the honour to be commemorated by the author of Hudibras: — “Hath not this present Parliament A leiger to the devil sent. were disposed to counteract the violence of such proceedings under pretence of witchcraft. on the other hand. And made a rod for his own breech. fortunately. or who was willing. on which. Thus the Independents. that it contributed to a degree of general toleration which was at that time unknown to any other Christian establishment. in Essex. And some for putting knavish tricks Upon green geese or turkey chicks.” * The understanding reader will easily conceive that this alteration of the current in favour of those who disapproved of witch-prosecutions. The Independents were distinguished by the wildest license in their religious tenets. and room for all possible varieties of doctrine. Although such laxity of discipline afforded scope to the wildest enthusiasm. . as had been driven forward by the wretched Hopkins. must have received encouragement from some quarter of weight and influence yet it may sound strangely enough that this spirit of lenity should have been the result of the peculiar principles of those sectarians of all denominations. that some gentlemen seized on him. the same sentiment induced them to regard with horror the prosecutions against witchcraft. it may be doubted whether the other sectaries would have accounted them absolute outcasts from the pale of the church. classed in general as Independents. Whether he was drowned outright or not does not exactly appear. and put him to his own favourite experiment of swimming. when. who made it their practice to adore the Evil Principle. they attained a supremacy over the Presbyterians. as he guess'd. it had. under Cromwell. But the popular indignation was so strongly excited against Hopkins. and. mixed with much that was nonsensical and mystical. Who proved himself at length a witch. Fully empower'd to treat about Finding revolted witches out? And has he not within a year Hang'd threescore of them in one shire? Some only for not being drown'd. who to a certain point had been their allies.preached before the rest on the subject of witchcraft. They disowned even the title of a regular clergy. And some for sitting above ground Whole days and nights upon their breeches. And feeling pain. though they had originally courted the Presbyterians as the more numerous and prevailing party. The very genius of a religion which admitted of the subdivision of sects ad infinitum . If there had even existed a sect of Manichæans. to minister to the spiritual necessities of his bearers. Norfolk. Or pigs that suddenly deceased Of griefs unnatural. and allowed the preaching of any one who could draw together a congregation that would support him. and Suffolk. and after this appearance of enquiry the inquisitions and executions went on as before. excluded a legal prosecution of any one of these for heresy or apostasy. without recompense. for three or four years previous to 1647. this inestimable recommendation. as he happened to float. had at length shaken themselves loose of that connexion.

The return of Charles II. to his crown and kingdom, served in some measure to restrain the general and wholesale manner in which the laws against witchcraft had been administered during the warmth of the Civil War. The statute of the 1st of King James, nevertheless, yet subsisted; nor is it in the least likely, considering the character of the prince, that he, to save the lives of a few old men or women, would have ran the risk of incurring the odium of encouraging or sparing a crime still held in horror by a great part of his subjects. The statute, however, was generally administered by wise and skilful judges, and the accused had such a chance of escape as the rigour of the absurd law permitted. Nonsense, it is too obvious, remained in some cases predominant. In the year 1663 an old dame, named Julian Coxe, was convicted chiefly on the evidence of a huntsman, who declared on his oath, that he laid his greyhounds on a hare, and coming up to the spot where he saw them mouth her, there he found, on the other side of a bush, Julian Coxe lying panting and breathless, in such a manner as to convince him that she had been the creature which afforded him the course. The unhappy woman was executed on this evidence. Two years afterwards (1664), it is with regret we must quote the venerable and devout Sir Matthew Hales, as presiding at a trial, in consequence of which Amy Dunny and Rose Callender were hanged at Saint Edmondsbury. But no man, unless very peculiarly circumstanced, can extricate himself from the prejudices of his nation and age. The evidence against the accused was laid, 1st, on the effect of spells used by ignorant persons to counteract the supposed witchcraft; the use of which was, under the statute of James I., as criminal as the act of sorcery which such counter-charms were meant to neutralize. 2ndly, The two old women, refused even the privilege of purchasing some herrings, having expressed themselves with angry impatience, a child of the herringmerchant fell ill in conseqence. 3rdly, A cart was driven against the miserable cottage of Amy Dunny. She scolded, of course; and shortly after the cart — (what a good driver will scarce comprehend) — stuck fast in a gate, where its wheels touched neither of the posts, and yet was moved easily forward on one of the posts (by which it was not impeded) being cut down. 4thly, One of the afflicted girls being closely muffled, went suddenly into a fit upon being touched by one of the supposed witches. But upon another trial it was found that the person so blindfolded fell into the same rage at the touch of an unsuspected person. What perhaps sealed the fate of the accused was the evidence of the celebrated Sir Thomas Browne, “ that the fits were natural, but heightened by the power of the devil co-operating with the malice of witches;” — a strange opinion, certainly, from the author of a treatise on ” Vulgar Errors !”* But the torch of science was now fairly lighted, and gleamed in more than one kingdom of the world, shooting its rays on every side, and catching at all means which were calculated to increase the illumination. The Royal Society, which had taken its rise at Oxford from a private association who met in Dr. Wilkin's chambers about the year 1652, was, the year after the Restoration, incorporated by royal charter, and began to

publish their Transactions, and give a new and more rational character to the pursuits of philosophy. In France, where the mere will of the government could accomplish greater changes, the consequence of an enlarged spirit of scientific discovery was, that a decisive stop was put to the witch-prosecutions which had heretofore been as common in that kingdom as in England. About the year 1672 there was a general arrest of very many shepherds and others in Normandy, and the Parliament of Rouen prepared to proceed in the investigation with the usual severity. But an order, or arret , from the king (Louis XIV.), with advice of his council, commanding all these unfortunate persons to be set at liberty and protected, had the most salutary effects all over the kingdom. The French Academy of Sciences was also founded; and, in imitation, a society of learned Germans established a similar institution at Leipsic. Prejudices, however old, were overawed and controlled — much was accounted for on natural principles that had hitherto been imputed to spiritual agency — everything seemed to promise that farther access to the secrets of nature might be opened to those who should prosecute their studies experimentally and by analysis — and the mass of ancient opinions which overwhelmed the dark subject of which we treat began to be derided and rejected by men of sense and education. In many cases the prey was now snatched from the spoiler. A pragmatical justice of peace in Somersetshire commenced a course of enquiry after offenders against the statute of James I., and had he been allowed to proceed, Mr. Hunt might have gained a name as renowned for witch-finding as that of Mr. Hopkins; but his researches were stopped from higher authority — the lives of the poor people arrested (twelve in number) were saved, and the country remained at quiet, though the supposed witches were suffered to live. The examinations attest some curious particulars, which may be found in Sadducismus Triumphalus : for among the usual string of froward, fanciful, or, as they were called, afflicted children, brought forward to club their startings, starings, and screamings, there appeared also certain remarkable confessions of the accused, from which we learn that the Somerset Satan enlisted his witches, like a wily recruiting sergeant, with one shilling in hand and twelve in promises ; that when the party of weird-sisters passed to the witch-meeting they used the magic words, Thout, tout, throughout, and about ; and that when they departed they exclaimed, Rentum, Tormentum ! We are further informed that his Infernal Highness, on his departure, leaves a smell and that (in nursery-maid's phrase) not a pretty one, behind him. Concerning this fact we have a curious exposition by Mr. Glanville. “ This,” — according to that respectable authority, “ seems to imply the reality of the business, those ascititious particles which he held together in his sensible shape being loosened at the vanishing, and so offending the nostrils by their floating and diffusing themselves in the open air.”* How much are we bound to regret that Mr. Justice Hunt's discovery ” of this hellish kind of witches,” in itself so clear and plain, and containing such valuable information, should have been smothered by meeting with opposition and discouragement from some

then in authority ! Lord Keeper Guildford was also a stifler of the proceedings against witches. Indeed, we may generally remark, during the latter part of the seventeenth century, that where the judges were men of education and courage, sharing in the information of the times, they were careful to check the precipitate ignorance and prejudice of the juries, by giving them a more precise idea of the indifferent value of confessions by the accused themselves, and of testimony derived from the pretended visions of those supposed to be bewitched. Where, on the contrary, judges shared with the vulgar in their ideas of such fascination, or were contented to leave the evidence with the jury, fearful to withstand the general cry too common on such occasions, a verdict of guilty often followed. We are informed by Roger North that a case of this kind happened at the assizes in Exeter, where his brother, the Lord Chief justice, did not interfere with the crown trials, and the other. judge left for execution a poor old woman, condemned, as usual, on her own confession, and on the testimony of a neighbour, who deponed that he saw a cat jump into the accused person's cottage window at twilight, one evening, and that he verily believed the said cat to be the devil; on which precious testimony the poor wretch was accordingly hanged. On another occasion, about the same time, the passions of the great and little vulgar were so much excited by the aquittal of an aged village dame, whom the judge had taken some pains to rescue, that Sir John Long, a man of rank and fortune, came to the judge in the greatest perplexity, requesting that the hag might not be permitted to return to her miserable cottage on his estates, since all his tenants had in that case threatened to leave him. In compassion to a gentleman who apprehended ruin from a cause so whimsical, the dangerous old woman was appointed to be kept by the town where she was acquitted, at the rate of half-a-crown a week, paid by the parish to which she belonged. But behold! in the period betwixt the two assizes Sir John Long and his farmers had mustered courage enough to petition that this witch should be sent back to them in all her terrors, because they could support her among them at a shilling a week cheaper than they were obliged to pay to the town for her maintenance. In a subsequent trial before Lord Chief justice North himself, that judge detected one of those practices which, it is to be feared, were too common at the time, when witnesses found their advantage in feigning themselves bewitched. A woman, supposed to be the victim of the male sorcerer at the bar, vomited pins in quantities, and those straight, differing from the crooked pins usually produced at such times, and less easily concealed in the mouth. The judge, however, discovered, by cross-examining a candid witness, that in counterfeiting her fits of convulsion the woman sunk her head on her breast, so as to take up with her lips the pins which she had placed ready in her stomacher. The man was acquitted, of course. A frightful old hag, who was present, distinguished herself so much by her benedictions on the judge, that he asked the cause of the peculiar interest which she took in the acquittal. “ Twenty years ago,” said the poor woman, “ they would have hanged me for a witch, but could not; and now, but for your lordship, they would have murdered my innocent

This. so interesting to vulgar credulity. 1707. She was then dragged through the river Ouse by a rope tied round her middle. and now leave it to be believed or disbelieved as the reader may be inclined. though her head remained under water. being under an imputation of witchcraft.son. her thumbs and great toes were bound together. The unfortunate object was tied up in a wet sheet. for there is an idea that a single pin spoils the operation of the charm. and to conciliate the good-will of her neighbours. Sir John Reresby. But the ancient superstition.” says Sir John. were more enraged against witches when their passions were once excited in proportion to the lenity exercised towards the objects of their indignation by those who administered the laws. on 12th July. there was no such thing as a modern instance competently proved. by allowing them to duck her. servants. “I have heard from the mouth of both. took the law into their own hands. and retainers regarded some old Moll White. who. impressed with a conviction of the guilt of some destitute old creatures. The parish officers so far consented to their humane experiment as to promise the poor woman a guinea if she should clear herself by sinking.”\ * Such scenes happened frequently on the assizes. her body floated. The . like sediment clearing itself from water. who put the hounds at fault and ravaged the fields with hail and hurricanes. in their own apprehension. As late as 1682 three unhappy women named Susan Edwards. near Bedford. We may see that Reresby. and Temperance Lloyd were hanged at Exeter for witchcraft. like the excellent Sir Roger de Coverley. This is believed to be the last execution of the kind in England under form of judicial sentence. proceeds to tell us that. Several cases occurred in which the mob. and. including the ignorant of every class. upwards of sixty years of age. at once. and proceeding upon such evidence as Hopkins would have had recourse to. ascertained their criminality and administered the deserved punishment. retained a private share in the terror with which their tenants. Mary Trembles. The populace. while country gentlemen. and all her apparel searched for pins. and then change itself first into a monkey and then into a turkey. which the under-keeper confirmed. The experiment was made three times with the same effect. Unhappily for the poor woman. on their own confession. had not as yet ” plucked the old woman out of his heart. There was one woman. The following instance of such illegal and inhuman proceedings occurred at Oakly. very properly. sunk down in a deeper shade upon the ignorant and lowest classes of society in proportion as the higher regions were purified from its influence. her cap torn off.” Even Addison himself ventured no farther in his incredulity respecting this crime than to contend that although witchcraft might and did exist. the sentinel upon the jail where she was confined avowed ” that he saw a scroll of paper creep from under the prison-door. as usual. was desirous to escape from so foul a suspicion. a statesman and a soldier. after an account of a poor woman tried for a witch at York in 1686 and acquitted. notwithstanding. as he thought.

being the work of God himself. The reasoning was received as conclusive. The woman was then weighed against a church Bible of twelve pounds jockey weight. and all criminal procedure on the subject of sorcery or witchcraft discharged in future through-out Great Britain. stood at a distance. as affording countenance for such brutal proceedings. and hardly forbore blows. reserving for such as should pretend to the skill of fortune-tellers.cry to hang or drown the witch then became general. instead of crowding round the gallows as usual. to protect them in the manner they intended. supporting the proposal by the staggering argument that the Scripture. which indeed they had expressed in a sort of proclamation. A single humane bystander took her part. was dismissed with honour. the more readily as it promised a new species of amusement. Only one of them. however. an honest fellow for ridding the parish of an accursed witch. Three men were tried for their share in this inhuman action. was abrogated. and requested money for the sport he had shown them ! The life of the other victim was with great difficulty saved. was condemned and hanged. A brute in human form. named Osborne. which they barricaded. 1751 The repetitition of such horrors. and exposed himself to rough usage for doing so. understanding that the rabble entertained a purpose of swimming these infirm creatures. which had a very different conclusion. 5. by the 9th George II. endeavoured to oppose their purpose by securing the unhappy couple in the vestry-room. and would have had the poor dame drowned or hanged on the result of her ducking. and although the belief in its existence has in remote places survived the law that recognised the evidence of the crime. seized the accused. The friend of humanity caught at this means of escape. Since that period witchcraft has been little heard of in England. fell under the suspicion of the mob on account of supposed witchcraft. An aged pauper. to death. went among the spectators. and as she was considerably preponderant. discoverers of stolen goods. so long the object of horror to all ancient and poverty-stricken females in the kingdom. that odious law. cap. as due to rogues and vagabonds. with ineffable brutality. and. the yet un-abolished statute of James I Accordingly. who had superintended the murder. the punishment of the correctionhouse. they said. and assigned its punishment — yet such . namely. At length a similar piece of inhumanity. Luckily one of the mob themselves at length suggested the additional experiment of weighing the witch against the church Bible. The mob forced the door. the proneness of the people to so cruel and heart-searing a superstition. But many of the mob counted her acquittal irregular. When he came to execution. the rabble. must outweigh necessarily all the operations or vassals of the devil. was traced by the legislature to its source. who resided near Tring. This abominable murder was committed July 30. led to the final abolition of the statute of James I. and his wife. continued dragging the wretches through a pool of water till the woman lost her life. and as she lay half-dead on the bank they loaded the wretch with reproaches. as the more authentic species of trial. or the like. and abused those who were putting. They were unable. in Staffordshire. named Colley. The overseers of the poor.

as is well known. they were not wise according to their zeal. fewer in number and less influential from their fortune. others. even by its own excess. as we have endeavoured to show. Only a brief account can be here given of the dreadful hallucination under wich colonists of that province were for a time deluded and oppressed by a strange contagious terror. previous to the great Civil War. and shortly after.faith is gradually becoming forgotten since the rabble have been deprived of all pretext to awaken it by their own riotous proceedings. The Irish statute against witchcraft still exists. it is certain. were seized with such strange diseases that all their . the colonists should have added fears of the devil. a mason. The mother of the laundress. and how suddenly and singularly it was cured. The first case which I observe was that of four children of a person called John Goodwin. In a country imperfectly cultivated. New England. Some rare instances have occurred of attempts similar to that for which Colley suffered. an error to which. or members of the other sects who were included under the general name of Independents. The eldest. would now be permitted to lie upon it. no procedure. and I observe one is preserved in that curious register of knowledge. and should so wild a thing be attempted in the present day. but entertained a proneness to believe in supernatural and direct personal intercourse between the devil and his vassals. and where the partially improved spots were embosomed in inaccessible forests. an ignorant. Anabaptists. it was natural that a disposition to superstition should rather gain than lose ground. in church and state. was peopled mainly by emigrants who had been disgusted with the government of Charles I. Many of the more wealthy settlers were Presbyterians and Calvinists. their brethren in Europe had from the beginning been peculiarly subject. but is too strong evidence of the imaginary character of this hideous disorder to be altogether suppressed. scolded the accuser. Hone's ” Popular Amusements. the elder Goodwin. If anything were wanted to confirm the general proposition that the epidemic terror of witchcraft increases and becomes general in proportion to the increase of prosecutions against witches. The Calvinists brought with them the same zeal for religion and strict morality which everywhere distinguished them. had quarrelled with the laundress of the family about some linen which was amissing. and that to other dangers and horrors with which they were surrounded. but as combined with sorcerers and witches to inflict death and torture upon children and others. her sister and two brothers. though happily without loss of life. not merely as the Evil Principle tempting human nature to sin. Nothing occurred in that kingdom which recommended its being formally annulled. a girl. but it is considered as obsolete.” from which it appears that as late as the end of last century this brutality was practised. testy. Unfortunately. Mr. inhabited by numerous tribes of savages. were Quakers. and choleric old Irishwoman. it would be sufficient to quote certain extraordinary occurrences in New England. as it would seem. and thus endangering our salvation.

and accordingly bear in their very front the character of studied and voluntary imposture. they cried out against the poor old woman. and condemned and executed accordingly. who hardly could speak the English language. but the which possessed her threw her into fits if she attempted to read the same Scriptures from the Bible. she affected inability to enter the clergyman's study. mimicked with dexterity and agility the motions of the animal pacing. At length the Goodwins were. at another time their necks were so flexible and supple that it seemed the bone was dissolved. and the type in which they were printed.” Shortly after this. read a Quaker treatise with ease and apparent satisfaction. or . whose name was Glover. The miserable Irishwoman. still seated on her chair. “ Reasons were given for this. She was therefore supposed to be unable to pronounce the whole consistently and correctly.” says the simple minister. as if the awe which it is supposed the fiends entertain for Holy Writ depended. seemed entirely dislocated and displaced. trotting. like her. They conducted themselves as those supposed to suffer under maladies created by such influence were accustomed to do. and Company. but when she cantered in this manner upstairs. under the influence of the devil. Pluck. but a book written against the poor inoffensive Friends the devil would not allow his victim to touch. Smack. but there were some words which she had forgotten. and read the portions of Scripture which it contains without difficulty or impediment. as was supposed. as if to mount her horse. She used to break in upon him at his studies to importune him to come downstairs. Catch. repeated her Pater Noster and Ave Maria like a good Catholic. She could look on a Church of England Prayer-book. and the eldest in particular continued all the external signs of witchcraft and possession. others were more strictly personal. Amid these distortions. Their limbs were curiously contorted. The afflicted damsel seems to have been somewhat of the humour of the Inamorata of Messrs. like a child on the nurse's knee. acting.neighbours concluded they were bewitched. she appears to have treated the poor divine with a species of sweetness and attention. But the children of Goodwin found the trade they were engaged in to be too profitable to be laid aside. not on the meaning of the words. in which their jaws snapped with the force of a spring-trap set for vermin. She often imagined that her attendant spirits brought her a handsome pony to ride off with them to their rendezvous. and then. and thus advantaged doubtless the kingdom of Satan by the interruption of his pursuits. merry as well as melancholy fits. used to become quite well. and galloping. They had violent convulsions. which gave him greater embarrassment than her former violence. Some of these were excellently calculated to flatter the self-opinion and prejudices of the Calvinist ministers by whom she was attended. The young woman. and stand up as a rational being. This singular species of flattery was designed to captivate the clergyman through his professional opinions. but the arrangement of the page. and had. and to those who had a taste for the marvellous. “ that seem more kind than true. They stiffened their necks so hard at one time that the joints could not be moved. and when she was pulled into it by force. alleging that she was in presence with them adding to their torments. On such occasions she made a spring upwards.

as they were termed. their throats choked. This scene opened by the illness of two girls. a daughter and niece of Mr. was to be the forerunner of new atrocities and fearfully more general follies. and were hanged. while several were executed. by some spell of their own. The afflicted persons failed not to see the spectres. and the wider and the more numerous were the denunciations against supposed witches. besides a stout-hearted man named Cory. A child of five years old was indicted by some of tile afflicted. which must yet be told. of the persons by whom they were tormented. as seems natural enough. endeavouring. and everything rested upon the assumption that the afflicted persons were telling the truth. in the mortal agony. says Mather. but the cases of witchcraft and possession increased as if they were transmitted by contagion. . but not till many lives had been sacrificed. An Indian and his wife. Against this species of evidence no alibi could be offered.appeared to be. Eight persons were condemned besides those who had actually suffered. servants of the family. which had been the introduction to this tale of a hobby-horse. the afflicted began to see the spectral appearances of persons of higher condition and of irreproachable lives. and pins were ejected from their stomachs. and the blood of poor Dame Glover. which the sheriff crammed with his cane back again into his mouth. who fell under an affliction similar to that of the Goodwins. to show how superstition can steel the heart of a man against the misery of his fellow-creature. on signing which they would be freed from their torments. that the real persons of the accused were not there present. Parvis. who refused to plead. since their evidence could not be redargued. some of whom were arrested. The accused were of all ages. At first. because it was admitted. Sometimes the devil appeared in person. where they stated it had bitten them. as we have said elsewhere. encouraged by the discovery of these poor Indians' guilt. their limbs racked. thrust out his tongue. who imagined they saw this juvenile wizard active in tormenting them. Their mouths were stopped. the minister of Salem. some made their escape. On this horrible occasion a circumstance took place disgusting to humanity. These spectres were generally represented as offering their victims a book. The judges and juries persevered. and was accordingly pressed to death according to the old law. the poor and miserable alone were involved. The dying man. cured. thorns were stuck into their flesh. The more that suffered the greater became the number of afflicted persons. and appealed to the mark of little teeth on their bodies. when such evidence was admitted as incontrovertible. and added his own eloquence to move the afflicted persons to consent. By this means nineteen men and women were executed. the historian. They acted. became generally fatal. But the example bad been given and caught. to discover by whom the fatal charm had been imposed on their master's children. drew themselves under suspicion. and the same sort of spectral evidence being received which had occasioned the condemnation of the Indian woman Titu. under a conscientious wish to do justly. These gross insults on common reason occasioned a revulsion in public feeling. but presently. A poor dog was also hanged as having been alleged to be busy in this infernal persecution. and hoping they might thus expel from the colony the authors of such practices.

the settlers awoke as from a dream. as was evidently seen. the anniversary of the first execution as a day of solemn fast and humiliation for his own share in the transaction.and no less than two hundred were in prison and under examination. had enwrapped innocent persons under the imputation of that crime. asserting them to have been made under fear of torture. under the strong suspicion that part of it at least had been innocently and unjustly sacrificed. so that some of those that were concerned grew amazed at the number and condition of those that were accused. For still the afflicted complained of being tormented by new objects as the former were removed. Several of the judges and jurors concerned in the sentence of those who were executed published their penitence for their rashness in convicting these unfortunate persons. or the generation of the kingdom of God would fall under condemnation. Besides. to lament the effusion of blood. Such of the accused as had confessed the acts of witchcraft imputed to them generally denied and retracted their confessions. influence of persuasion. and the execution of some made way to the apprehension of others. “ experience showed that the more were apprehended the more were still afflicted by Satan. were pardoned amongst others. and even those who had confessed. began now. a man of the most importance in the colony. and one of the judges. the condemned pardoned. Men began then to ask whether the devil might not artfully deceive the afflicted into the accusation of good and innocent persons by presenting witches and fiends in the resemblance of blameless persons. in whose family the disturbance had began and who. observed. Parvis. to leave his settlement amongst them. they alleged. Influenced by these reflections. men found that no rank or condition could save them from the danger of this horrible accusation if they continued to encourage the witnesses in such an unlimited course as had hitherto been granted to them. which we use as that of a man deeply convinced of the reality of the crime. during the rest of his life. and the voice of the public. This argument was by no means inconsistent with the belief in witchcraft. the prisoners dismissed. was the person by whom it was most fiercely driven on in the commencement. Even the barbarous Indians were struck with wonder at the . on the other hand. and the author we have just quoted thus records the result : — ” When this prosecution ceased. and for five years there was no such molestation among us. the number of whom was very extraordinary. as engaged in the tormenting of their diseased country-folk. the Lord so chained up Satan that the afflicted grew presently well. there must be a stop put. In Mather's own language. and the number of confessions increasing did but increase the number of the accused. or other circumstances exclusive of their free will.” To this it must be added that the congregation of Salem compelled Mr.”* The prosecutions were therefore suddenly stopped. and was the more readily listened to on that account. and feared that Satan. and at last. by his wiles. which had so lately demanded vengeance on all who were suspected of sorcery. The accused were generally quiet.

which was bought at Mr. chap. among whom. Royston. and was prosecuted with much more severity. in Answer to several Queries lately delivered to the judge of Assize for the County of Norfolk. for the Benefit of the whole Kingdom. But.” * Of Parliament. the matter was ended too abruptly. 1647. he admits candidly that it is better to act moderately in matters capital. as they remarked. canto 3. * Hutchison on Witchcraft. * Mather's “Magnalia. Witchfinder. 60. * This reproach is noticed in a very rare tract. * Hutchison's “Essay on Witchcraft. and is now in the author's possession. Scottish Trials — Earl of Mar — Lady Glammis — William Barton — Witches of Auldearne — Their Rites and Charms — Their Transformation into Hares — Satan's Severity towards them — Their Crimes — Sir George Mackenzie's Opinion of Witchcraft — Instances of Confessions made by the Accused. and subsisted to a later period. The zealous author.” p. and Rites performed to accomplish their purpose — Trial of Margaret Barclay in 1618 — Case of Major Weir — Sir John Clerk among the first who declined acting as Commissioner on the Trial of a Witch — Paisley and Pittenweem Witches — A Prosecution in Caithness prevented by the Interference of the King's Advocate in 1718 — The Last Sentence of Death for Witchcraft . and left the Accused no chance of escape — The Superstition of the Scottish Clergy in King James VI. Its full title is. opened a door to Accusers. Lort's sale. “ the Great Spirit sends no witches. “ The Discovery of Witches. the temper of the times considered.” The system of witchcraft. and now published by Matthew Hopkins.” book vi. * Glanville's ” Collection of Relations. p.” * Roger North's “Life of Lord-Keeper Guilford. 166.” “Memoirs of Sir John Reresby. had the times been calm. *Webster on Witchcraft. of the ” Family Library” (“ Lives of British Physicians"). 162.'s time led them. * See the account of Sir T. Bindley.” part ii. edition 1677. regrets the general gaol-delivery on the score of sorcery.infatuation of the English colonists on this occasion. 237. * “Hudibras. the case might have required a farther investigation. p. Browne in No. however. in despair. as it is different in some respects from that of England. and to let the guilty escape. on the whole. by the celebrated collector Mr. and to avoid future annoyance and persecution — Examination by Pricking — The Mode of judicial Procedure against Witches. and thinks. at the Angel. to encourage Witch — Prosecutions — Case of Bessie Graham — Supposed Conspiracy to Shipwreck James in his Voyage to Denmark — Meetings of the Witches. like their Sovereign. than run the risk of destroying the innocent. p. and drew disadvantageous comparisons between them and the French. and that. in Inn Lane. lxxxii. XIV. LETTER IX. must next claim our attention.” p. Printed for R. and nature of the Evidence admissible. 278. as believed in Scotland.

In the year 1537 a noble matron fell a victim to a similar charge. although the want of the justiciary records of that period leaves us in uncertainty. Lady Glammis. and several others. he brought his gallant. which is another early instance of Demonology in Scottish history. of which Lady Glammis's brother. brought the culprits to their fate. the weird-sisters. whether he died by the agency of a gang of witches. who seem to have thought the articles against her forged for the purpose of taking her life. which. cases of the kind occurred very often in Scotland. for the sake of compassing his death. were sometimes of a peculiar character. one William Barton. who. who. and. On such a charge. In the tale of Macbeth. a fortune of no less than fifteen pounds. the unhappy Mar was bled to death in his own lodgings without either trial or conviction. even supposing it to . who were the original prophetesses. was the bead. appeared to the usurper in a dream. Previous to this lady's execution there would appear to have been but few prosecuted to death on the score of witchcraft. immediately after which catastrophe twelve women of obscure rank and three or four wizards. when such charges grew general over Europe. But in the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries. brother of James III. though Shakspeare a stamped the latter character indelibly upon them. as they were termed. who inflicted torments upon an image made in his name. her second husband. rather than the sorcery. drives a very hard bargain. or warlocks. related from the Author's own knowledge. There is. Our acquaintance with the slender foundation on which Boetius and Buchanan reared the early part of their histories may greatly incline us to doubt whether a king named Duffus ever reigned in Scotland. still more. were burnt at Edinburgh.pronounced in Scotland in 1722 — Remains of the Witch Superstition — Case of supposed Witchcraft. which took place so late as 1800. like those of the Duchess of Gloucester and others in the sister country. This was Janet Douglas. indeed. to give a colour to the Earl's guilt. One of the earliest real cases of importance founded upon witchcraft was. very inexplicitly stated. and. a certain monotony in most tales of the kind. The Earl of Mar. when he was pleased to enact the female on a similar occasion. or sibyls. She died much pitied by the people. and repeated examples were supplied by the annals of sanguinary executions on this sad accusation. having commonly to do with women. with a view to the restoration of the Douglas family. stood accused of attempting James's life by poison. the Earl of Angus. and are described as volæ . The vassals are usually induced to sell themselves at a small price to the Author of Ill. mingled with an accusation of political nature. On the contrary. fell under the king's suspicion for consulting wit witches and sorcerers how to shorten the king's days. rather than as witches. her kindred and very name being so obnoxious to the King. FOR many years the Scottish nation had been remarkable for a credulous belief in witchcraft. of Scotland. which. with her son. as we have already noticed.

the sock and coulter were made out of a riglen's horn. The first hands that handle thee. but. and feasted on the provisions they found there. They entered the house of the Earl of Murray himself. they made a pretence of ploughing it with a yoke of paddocks. very common among them. and place it in the house of those whom they devoted to destruction in body or goods. and add some more fanciful circumstances than occur in the general case. with their elfin archery. the reader may be desirous to bear some of their spells. Of all the rest of the little store!” Metamorphoses were.* When assembled.have been the Scottish denomination. and possessed themselves of the carcases (of unchristened infants in particular). as there are other passages not very edifying. They used to bash the flesh of an unchristened child. who felt themselves insulted by the preference. As these witches were the countrywomen of the weird sisters in Macbeth. I have already noticed (page 136). And little sall come to the fore. on the contrary. of coin. and the forms of . The witches of Auldearne. When they desired to secure for their own use the crop of some neighbour. the northern superstition agrees with that of England. which was held by the devil himself. and treated with particular attention. as they were termed. One of these was called the Maiden of the Covine. and leave the proprietors nothing but thistles and briars. Burn'd and scalded may they be! We will destroy houses and hald. a girl of personal attractions. like Tam o'Shanter's Nannie. praying the devil to transfer to them the fruit of the ground so traversed. whom Satan placed beside himself. and such other mansions as were not fenced against them by vigil and prayer. and of the poetry by which they were accompanied and enforced. is extremely minute. already mentioned. whose joints and members they used in their magic unguents and salves. according to Isobel. according to this penitent. These foul creatures drew the plough. and the Sabbath which he there celebrates. to keep the fifteen pounds whole. or covines . for were this the case. I look upon this as one of the most severe reflections on our forefathers' poverty which is extant. In observing on Satan's conduct in this matter. and some part of it at least may be quoted. saying or singing — “We put this intill this hame. was a very liberal endowment compared with his niggardly conduct towards the fair sex on such an occasion. and was usually. which greatly provoked the spite of the old bags. With the sheep and nolt into the fauld. that they were told off into squads. But some of the confessions depart from the monotony of repetition. he might find few men or women capable of resisting his munificence. were so numerous. Neither did he pass false coin on this occasion. generously gave Burton a merk. to each of which were appointed two officers. they dug up graves. The plough-harness and soams were of quicken grass. The witches' sports. as to the description of Satan's Domdaniel. mixed with that of dogs and sheep. Master George Sinclair observes that it is fortunate the Enemy is but seldom permitted to bribe so high (as £15 Scots). and the covine attended on the operation. Isobel Gowdie's confession. In our lord the Devil's name. In many of the Scottish witches' trials.

seagreen. and beat and buffeted them without mercy or discretion. cats. after the old Scottish manner. Swein. These names. would ” defend herself finely. cries. was forced to take to my own house. The ceremonial of the Sabbath meetings was very strict. in Auldearne. Thomas the Feary. and there took refuge behind a chest. often fell under his lord's displeasure for neglect of duty. are better imagined at least than those which Hopkins contrived for the imps which he discovered — such as Pyewacket. Margaret Wilson.” Then might be seen the various tempers of those whom he commanded. God send thee care ! I am in a hare's likeness now. But I shall be a woman even now — Hare. in Earlseat. News. the door being open. “ I ken weel eneugh what you are saying of me. hare. while Satan kept beating them with wool cards and other sharp scourges. Sack-and-Sugar. she said. Bessie Wilson could also speak very crustily with her tongue. God send thee care!” Such accidents. The witches were taught to call these imps by names. Vinegar-Tom. and . but being hard pressed. saying. but had the misfortune to meet Peter Papley of Killhill's servants going to labour. and yellow. who served the witches. “ run a very long time. grass-green. The Foul Fiend was very rigid in exacting the most ceremonious attention from his votaries. Saunders the Red Reaver. some of which might belong to humanity. The hounds sprung on the disguised witch. and ” belled the cat” with the devil stoutly. without attending to their entreaties or complaints. could never defend himself save with tears. Hendrie Craig. the weird sisters.” and make her hands save her head. however.crows. and gaining time to say the disenchanting rhyme: — “Hare. irreverently spoke of their sovereign by the name of Black John. In the hare shape Isobel herself had a bad adventure. She had been sent by the devil to Auldearne in that favourite disguise. according to Isobel Gowdie's confession. and the title of Lord when addressed by them. upon such occasions the Fiend rushed on them like a schoolmaster who surprises his pupils in delict. were not uncommon. The others chiefly took refuge in crying “Pity ! mercy !” and such like. and entreaties for mercy.” But the hounds came in and took the other side of the chest. Wait-upon-Herself. with some message to her neighbours. and. “ and I. They were usually distinguished by their liveries. odd and uncouth enough. but some of the women. when whispering amongst themselves. There were attendant devils and imps.” says Isobel. Alexander Elder. hare. were on such occasions assumed. hares. the Roaring Lion. Robert the Rule. and other animals. had more of the spirit which animated the old dame of Kellyburn Braes. Sometimes. so that Isobel only escaped by getting into another house. being weak and simple. Thief of Hell. and Rorie. But none had been killed on such occasions. which were sad-dun. of which the marks remained after their restoration to human shape. These were Robert the Jakis. an old Scandinavian Duerg probably. and the witches were sometimes bitten by the dogs. Peck-in-the-Crown. MacKeeler. while others had a diabolical sound. having his hounds with them.

and imputed to her sisters. that at the time she received a great cuff from Bessie Hay for her awkwardness. “ to be seated here at ease and unharmed. it would seem. the broad vulgarity of which epithets shows what a flat imagination he brought to support his impudent fictions. adhered to after their separate diets. which a full perusal of her confession might. Bessie Wilson. was Throw-the-Cornyard. as already mentioned. That they be burned with our will. judicially authenticated by the subscription of the notary. were I to be drawn asunder by wild horses. because they had omitted to bless themselves as the aerial flight of the hags swept past them. We put it in into the fire.” It only remains to suppose that this wretched creature was under the dominion of some peculiar species of lunacy. perhaps. being fond of mimicking the forms of the Christian church. Her case is interesting. clergymen. The devil. made voluntarily. and Jane Mairten. an excuse which was never admitted as relevant. and gentlemen present.” Such was the singular confession of Isobel Gowdie. To burn them up stook and stour. even from Satan himself. of examination. Bessie Hay's nickname was Able-and-Stout. used to rebaptize the witches with their blood. Like any stikkle § in a kiln. the Maiden of the Covine. for which she thanks God in her confession. her compeer. Some. placing at the same time in the fire figures composed of clay mixed with paste.Grizell Greedigut. to represent the object: — ” We put this water amongst this meal.* She had herself the temerity to shoot at the Laird of Park as he was riding through a ford. but missed him through the influence of the running stream. and adds. but rather to be stretched on an iron rack: nor can my crimes be atoned for. Elspet Nishe's was Bessie Bald. by the following lines. the death of sundry persons shot with elf-arrows. and without compulsion of any kind. who commanded the fair sisterhood. The proud-stomached Margaret Wilson. and in his own great name. and containing no variety or contradiction in its details. For long dwining and ill heal. I presume) to wasting illness. They devoted the male children of this gentleman (of the well-known family of Gordon of Park. Whatever might be her state of mind in other respects. endeavoured to escape from the charge of witchcraft by admitting an intercourse with the fairy people. to. have operated on Isobel Gowdie. she seems to have been perfectly conscious of the perilous consequence of her disclosures to her own person. who scorned to take a blow unrepaid. “ I do not deserve. Other unfortunate persons were betrayed to their own reproof by other means than the derangement of mind which seems to.” says she. as we have seen. Isobel took upon herself. as they are called. was called Ower-the-Dike-with-it. was called Pickle-nearest-the-Wind. as throwing upon the rites and ceremonies of the Scottish witches a light which we seek in vain elsewhere. . perhaps guide a medical person of judgement and experience.

' Another. by which our ancestors thought the guilty might be brought to confession. of which I shall give two instances. not doubting the existence of the crime. told me under secresie. when they are defamed. has some most judicious reflections which we shall endeavour to abstract as the result of the experience of one who. and one of them. “ I went when I was a justice-deput to examine some women who had confessed judicially. But. condemning them for life to a state of necessity. however painful. was a silly creature. One. was of opinion that. and many mistake their own fears and apprehensions for witchcraft. they will imagine things the most ridiculous and absurd ” of which instances are given. that most of all that ever were. and so starved for want of meat and drink. and which was sure to follow. ' Like flies dancing about the candle. and being defamed for a witch. and who. made answer. without riches to bestow. after he had confessed witchcraft. and albeit the poor miscreants cannot prove this usage. “ that noble wit of Scotland. should be tried for a crime of all others the most mysterious. and I know” (continues Sir George). who. of a poor weaver who. it required the clearest and most strict probation. and suspicion. of a woman. that hardly wiser and more serious people than they would escape distraction. “ the persons ordinarily accused of this crime are poor ignorant men. in his capacity of Lord Advocate. she knew she would starve. for no person thereafter would either give her meat or lodging. and the little advantage which he himself would gain by doing so. and that all men would beat her and . says Mackenzie. “ ex certissima scientia . This learned author gives us an instance how these unfortunate creatures might be reduced to confession by the very infamy which the accusation cast upon them. on account of its very horror. and this usage was the ground of all their confession. misery. On this subject the celebrated Sir George Mackenzie. think it their duty to vex and torment poor prisoners delivered up to them as rebels to heaven and enemies to men. but being a poor creature who wrought for her meat. but which far more frequently compelled the innocent to bear evidence against themselves. had often occasion to conduct witch-trials. These poor creatures. being asked how he saw the devil. and for fear of which they dare not retract it. the actors being the only witnesses. such as any person of reputation would willingly exchange for a short death. who. being persuaded they do God good service. 3rdly. who understand not the nature of what they are accused of. being able to enlist such numbers of recruits. who asked seriously. and avowedly subjected to a higher power. either of which wants is enough to disarm the strongest reason. and when men are confounded with fear and apprehension. become so confounded with fear and the close prison in which they are kept. yet the judge should be jealous of it. He first insists on the great improbability of the fiend. taken were tormented in this manner.” 5thly. or else women. 4thly. if a woman might be a witch and not know it? And it is dangerous that persons.” as he is termed by Dryden. when she was accused. 2dly. that she had not confest because she was guilty.Others were subjected to cruel tortures. as that which did at first elicit the confession. of all others the most simple. “ Most of these poor creatures are tortured by their keepers.

and not to take her blood upon her own head.hound dogs at her. Her companions in prison were adjudged to die. and put in prison under the name of a witch. as the minister said. and confessing before them what she had said. and had no foundation in truth. and she was charged before the Lord to declare the truth. but being delated by a malicious woman. yea. and third prayer. The clergyman. know that I am now to die as a witch by my own confession. however. and some others to despair. to destroy both her soul and body. none of which could restrain themselves from tears . and with a loud voice cried out. it was charged home upon her by the ministers. and cried always to be put away with the rest. and seeing no ground of hope of my coming out of prison. and choosing rather to die than live. she lifted tip her body. We give the result in the minister's words: — “ Therefore much pains was taken on her by ministers and others on Saturday. given herself up as guilty. as it did then astonish all the spectators. And really ministers are oft times indiscreet in their zeal to have poor creatures to confess in this. Sunday. through the temptation of the devil I made up that confession on purpose to destroy my own life. being called before the judges. that she might resile from that confession which was suspected to be but a temptation of the devil. and Monday morning. and would haunt her. or ever coming in credit again. and those who are sent should be cautious in this particular. and I recommend to judges that the wisest ministers should be sent to them. she was found guilty and condemned to die with the rest that same clay. Being carried forth to the place of execution. a faithful minister of the . when he was desiring her to confess. being weary of it. who lay there with other females on a charge of witchcraft. Which lamentable story. and entreated to be put to death with the others who bad been appointed to suffer upon the next Monday. that there was just ground of jealousy that her confession was not sincere. so it may be to all a demonstration of Satan's subtlety. had adopted a strong persuasion that this confession was made up in the pride of her heart. after she was said to be his servant. These things to be of truth. of the guilt of my blood. on Monday morning. Whereupon. and as I must make answer to the God of Heaven presently. and therefore she desired to die. and upon her knees called God to witness to what she said. by a confession as full as theirs. disowned by my husband and friends. and she too had. whereupon she wept most bitterly. and that therefore she desired to be out of the world. I take it wholly upon myself — my blood be upon my own head.'-and so died.”* As a corollary to this affecting story. whose design is stilt to destroy all. for the destruction of her own life. as well as others. Another told me that she was afraid the devil would challenge a right to her. and then perceiving that there remained no more but to rise and go to the stake. I declare I am as free of witchcraft as any child. Yet she stiffly adhered to what she had said. and I free all men especially the ministers and magistrates. I may quote the case of a woman in Lauder jail. she remained silent during the first. second. 'Now all you that see me this day. partly by tempting many to presumption. are attested by an eye and ear witness who is yet alive. She therefore sent for the minister of the town.

the smallest and most ignorant baron of a rude territory. wherein the confessions of the accused constituted the principal if not sole evidence of the guilt.* From this and other instances it appears that the predominance of the superstition of witchcraft. which was said to be inflicted by him upon all his vassals. was in Scotland reduced to a trade. may be inflicted without being followed by blood. although Sir George Mackenzie stigmatises it as a horrid imposture. the practice of the infamous Hopkins. the blood is apt to return to the heart.” Besides the fact that the persons of old people especially sometimes contain spots void of sensibility. and the proneness to persecute those accused of such practices in Scotland. They expressed high displeasure against the presumption of the parties complained against. or mark. In the latter end of the seventeenth century this childish. indecent. and treated the pricker as a common cheat. nor did they (the marks) bleed when they were taken out again. in practice. that as one woman out of very despair renounced her own life. One celebrated mode of detecting witches and torturing them at the same time. to exercise his craft upon her. This species of search. ” who found two marks of what he called the devil's making. The Supreme Court of Justiciary was that in which the cause properly and exclusively ought to have been tried. that at the trial of Janet Peaston of Dalkeith the magistrates and ministers of that market town caused John Kincaid of Tranent. Pitcairn. They were pins of three inches in length. she pointed to a part of her body distant from the real place. as if in exercise of a lawful calling. there is also room to believe that the professed prickers used a pin the point or lower part of which was. in fact. which was hollow for the purpose. Fountainhall has recorded that in 1678 the Privy Council received the complaint of a poor woman who had been abused by a country magistrate and one of those impostors called prickers. the same might have been the case in many other instances. and the young witchfinder was allowed to torture the accused party. I observe in the Collections of Mr. the pettiest bailie in the most trifling. and brutal practice began to be called by its right name. and to be insensible to pain. and a slight wound. imprison. the accused suffered the . for she could not feel the pin when it was put into either of the said marks. But.” * It is strange the inference does not seem to have been deduced. as we have already seen. on being pressed down. the common pricker. were it worth while to dwell on a subject so ridiculous. took it on him to arrest. to draw forth confession. and which appeared indeed to be so. beyond their jurisdiction. and that which appeared to enter the body did not pierce it at all. burgh. sheathed in the upper. we might recollect that in so terrible an agony of shame as is likely to convulse a human being under such a trial. in which examinations. and examine. and when she was asked where she thought the pins were put in. was by running pins into their body.gospel. on pretence of discovering the devil's stigma. and such personal insults. as with a pin. But. each inferior judge in the country. were increased by the too great readiness of subordinate judges to interfere in matters which were.

or the evidence of inhabile witnesses. whose real name was Alexander Hunter. on a green hill-side. lost an opportunity of destroying a witch. Now. to be found within the district. following close upon a threat. as John Stewart. But our ancestors arranged it otherwise. was cleaning his gun. There is some ground to hope that this extraordinary evidence was not admitted upon the trial. Neither must it be forgotten that the proof led in support of the prosecution was of a kind very unusual in jurisprudence. so liable to excite the passions. though not likely. there seems no good reason why the trial of witches. though it might be attributed to the most natural course of events. secondly. which it had pleased the devil to confer upon him. the devil appeared to him in shape of a grave “ Mediciner. which. though of the meanest denomination. Sometimes this vague species of evidence loosely adduced. et malum secutum — mischief. The lawyers admitted as evidence what they called damnumm minatum . he was slyly questioned by Janet Cocke. should not have been uniformly tried by a court whose rank and condition secured them from the suspicion of partiality. and allegations of danger threatened and mischief ensuing were admitted. one of a party of stout burghers of Dalkeith appointed to guard an old woman called Christian Wilson from that town to Niddrie. made up of extorted confessions. as it is well known that such a commission could not be granted in a case of murder in the county where the crime was charged. 1661.” addressing him thus roundly. was supposed necessarily to be in consequence of the menaces of the accused. uttered by the supposed witch. There is a story told of an old wizard. though the menaces had not come from the accused party herself. But. on their journey to Niddrie the party actually were assailed by a sudden gust of wind (not a very uncommon event in that climate). and curing the diseases of man and beast by spells and charms. One summer's day. to be freed from general prejudice. The copies of these examinations. and it was the consequence that such commissioners very seldom. you have too long followed my trade without . “ What would you think if the devil raise a whirlwind. though he was more generally known by the nickname of Hatteraick. Thus no creature was secure against the malice or folly of some defamatory accusation. which scarce permitted the valiant guard to keep their feet. while the miserable prisoner was blown into a pool of water. “ Sandie. that is to say. by acquitting the persons brought before them. On Ith June. The man had for some time adopted the credit of being a conjurer. and take her from you on the road tomorrow ?” Sure enough. who probably saw his courage was not entirely constant. and with difficulty raised again.grossest injustice. and peculiarly liable to be affected by the clamour of the neighbourhood againt the delinquent. were all that were transmitted to the Privy Council. and particularly of the clergymen. who were to direct the future mode of procedure. another confessing witch. if there was a timid or superstitious judge. or wish of revenge. from their education. it was the course of the Privy Council to appoint commissions of the gentlemen of the country.

and probably in liquor. the Lady Samuelston. riding in the night. was heard say. but within a short while the gentleman recovered his health. George. After that this warlock had abused the country for a long time. he rides through a shady piece of a haugh.' When he had come to her. and flesh. he would not. ' I should make him repent of his striking me at the yait lately. as any man would. The young gentleman conveyed his friends a far way off. Mr.' says she.' She. where he supped. “After this he grew very famous through the country for is charming and curing of diseases in men and beasts. to the defrauding of his younger brother. A hot-tempered swaggering young gentleman horsewhips a beggar of ill fame for loitering about the gate of his sister's house. and brought into Edinburgh. knowing the fellow's prophecies to hold true. ' Surely that knave Hatteraick is the cause of his trouble.acknowledging me for a master. through a dark shady place. The young man.' says he. and was bound for several days.* gaining meal. and we shall let the Rev. This was malum secutum .' She. brother to the lady. taking his horse and crossing Tyne water to go home. and money by his charms. and probably could not. and burnt upon the Castlehill. and turned a vagrant fellow like a jockie. but shall never return. he met with some persons there that begat a dreadful consternation in him. switcht him about the ears. ' You shall dear buy this ere it be long. ' Your brother William shall quickly go off the country. caused the brother to make a disposition to her of all his patrimony. what have you to do here ?' Whereupon the fellow goes away grumbling. and I will teach you your trade better. which for the most part he would never reveal. When he came home the servants observed terror and fear in his countenance. One day he came to the yait (gate) of Samuelston. such was the ignorance of any at that time. which was soon gotten. it is worth while to consider what was its real amount. You must now enlist with me and become my servant. ' Sandie. and was overheard to say. The next day he became distracted. when some friends after dinner were going to horse.” * Now. and the evening being somewhat dark. commonly called Allers. call for him in all haste. When Hatteraic came to receive his wages he told the lady. persuaded the fellow to cure him again He undertook the business. ' what is this you have done to my brother William ?' ' I told him. George Sinclair tell the rest of e tale. he was at last apprehended at Dunbar. saying — ' You warlock carle. The beggar grumbles.' This was damnum minatum . hearing of it. if Hatteraick was really put to death on such evidence. His sister employs the wizard to take off the spell according to his . giving the rogue fair words. and came home that way again. His sister. What pranks he played with it cannot be known. After supper. A young gentleman. tell what.” Hatteraick consented to the proposal. and has a fever fit. seeing him. is frightened by. ' But I must first. Whatever house he came to none durst refuse Hatteraick an alms.' says he ' have one of his sarks' (shirts). rather for his ill than his good. and promising him his pockful of meal with beef and cheese.

by their credulity as to the actual interference of evil spirits in the affairs of this world. and all legal cause for burning a man to ashes ! The vagrant Hatteraick probably knew something of the wild young man which might soon oblige him to leave the country. as they conceived themselves. Through the reign of Queen Mary these trials for sorcery became numerous. of whom the real crime was that she had attracted too great a share. approached to years of discretion. we are informed by Mackenzie. and credit was given to all who acted in defence of the opinions of the reigning prince. a poor girl was to die for witchcraft. They applied these principles of belief to the meanest causes. since nothing can happen without the foreknowledge and will of Heaven. and that the great Creator is content to execute his purposes by the operation of those laws which influence the general course of nature. And amongst those natural feelings. This was doubtless. in the lady's opinion. an unhesitating belief in what were called by them ” special providences. to which the parties accused of this crime in Scotland were necessarily exposed. by the snares and . drew still larger attention to the subject. with good faith. Having thus given some reasons why the prosecutions for witchcraft in Scotland were so numerous and fatal. But when James VI.profession. the general erroneous belief respecting witchcraft — regarding it indeed as a crime which affected their own order more nearly than others in the state. the grossly superstitious vulgar abhorred them with still more perfect dread and loathing. and here is damnum minatum . among better things. since. and the crime was subjected to heavier punishment by the 73rd Act of her 9th Parliament. Surrounded.” and this was equalled. the extreme anxiety which he displayed to penetrate more deeply into mysteries which others had regarded as a very millstone of obscurity. In one case. they were peculiarly bound to oppose the incursions of Satan. but we are authorized to believe that the period of supernatural interference has long passed away. The gentry hated them because the diseases and death of their relations and children were often imputed to them. others of a less pardonable description found means to shelter themselves. especially called to the service of heaven. The works which remain behind them show. at least. and the selfish Lady Samuelston. learning the probability of his departure. Besides these particular disadvantages. et malum secutum . in a general sense true. committed a fraud which ought to have rendered her evidence inadmissible. Our ancient Scottish divines thought otherwise. we return to the general history of the trials recorded from the reign of James V. We have already said that these venerable persons entertained. of the attention of the laird. This natural tendency to comply with the opinions of the sovereign was much augmented by the disposition of the Kirk to the same sentiments. The sovereign had exhausted his talents of investigation on the subject of witchcraft. to the union of the kingdoms. the arrival of a skilful farrier was accounted a special providence to defeat the purpose of Satan. both in relation to the judicature by which they were tried and the evidence upon which they were convicted. A horse falling lame was a snare of the devil to keep the good clergyman from preaching. their situation was rendered intolerable by the detestation in which they were held by all ranks.

” This. as melancholy and despairing wretches are in the habit of doing. “ that if he would find out a way for giving the minister full clearness of her guilt. or the guilt of Bessie Grahame. As they stood on the stair-head behind the door. that he actually pitied her hard usage. was accomplished in the following manner.temptations of hell. but in vain. While the minister was in this doubt. We have already seen that even the conviction that a woman was innocent of the crime of witchcraft did not induce a worthy clergyman to use any effort to withdraw her from the stake. had visited Bessie in her cell. which he regarded as an answer to his prayer. and how easily the gravest doubts were removed rather than a witch should be left undetected. according to his idea. especially as he doubted whether a civil court would send her to an assize. suspected of witchcraft. he would acknowledge it as a singular favour and mercy. with the same confidence in the justice of their cause and similar indifference concerning the feelings of those whom they accounted the enemies of God and man. But for this discovery we should have been of opinion that Bessie Grahame talked to herself. and wished for her delivery from prison. discoursing with another person. who used a low and ghostly tone. nourished in the early system of church government a considerable desire to secure their own immunities and . they heard the prisoner. since the minister. acquitting her judges and jury of her blood. a fellow named Begg was employed as a skilful pricker. the kirk-officer. he regarded the overhearing this conversation as the answer of the Deity to his petition. The whole detail is a curious illustration of the spirit of credulity which welldisposed men brought with them to such investigations. and his own servant. This put the worthy man upon a solemn prayer to God. But as Alexander Simpson pretended to understand the sense of what was said within the cell. they entered into war with the kingdom of Satan. with Alexander Simpson. under suspicions of no great weight. whose opinions were but two strongly on this head in correspondence with the prevailing superstitious of the people. One evening the clergyman. he thrust a great brass pin up to the head in a wart on the woman's back. Bessie Grahame had been committed. and the minister himself was pretty sure he heard two voices at the same time. and thenceforth was troubled with no doubts either as to the reasonableness and propriety of his prayer. nay. though she died obstinate. in respect of the strong delusion under which they laboured. Although the ministers. after various conferences. which he affirmed to be the devil's mark. and relying on the aid of Heaven. but still the chief gentlemen in the county refused to act. which the minister instantly recognised as the Foul Fiend's voice. and would not confess. or whether an assize would be disposed to convict her. it would seem. found her defence so successful. whom they had left alone in her place of confinement. and the clergyman's own doubts were far from being removed. as the crusaders of old invaded the land of Palestine. and in the same collection * there occur some observable passages of God's providence to a godly minister in giving him ” full clearness” concerning Bessie Grahame. by whose authority it is not said. made a most decent and Christian end. to urge her to confession. A commission was granted for trial.

he very politically recommended to the clergy to contribute all that lay in their power to assist the civil magistrates. or such evidence as that collected by the minister who overheard the dialogue between the witch and her master. The king after his return acknowledged with many thanks the care which the clergy had bestowed in this particular. and described by Archbishop . on account of his match with Anne of Denmark — the union of a Protestant princess with a Protestant prince. when the clergy were in a great measure intrusted with the charge of the public government. At his departing from Scotland on his romantic expedition to bring home a consort from Denmark. and the witches. Earl of Arran. Nor were they slack in assuming the merit to themselves. and as the witches tried were personally as insignificant as the charge itself was odious. being liable to suffer under an assize of error should they be thought to have been unjustly merciful. the pedantic sovereign having exercised his learning and ingenuity in the Demonologia. were equally devoted to the devil. and preserve the public peace of the kingdom.privileges as a national church. The principal person implicated in these heretical and treasonable undertakings was one Agnes Simpson. or Samson. The juries were also afraid of the consequences of acquittal to themselves. and there seldom wanted some such confession as we have often mentioned. James was self-gratified by the unusual spirit which he had displayed on his voyage in quest of his bride. His fleet had been tempest-tost. yet in the earlier part of his reign. and he very naturally believed that the prince of the power of the air had been personally active on the occasion. considered the execution of every witch who was burnt as a necessary conclusion of his own royal syllogisms. But the general spite of Satan and his adherents was supposed to be especially directed against James. which failed not at last to be brought into contact with the king's prerogative. and the clergy esteemed themselves such from the very nature of their profession. the King of Scotland and heir of England being. for they often reminded him in their future discords that his kingdom had never been so quiet as during his voyage to Denmark. to salve their consciences and reconcile them to bring in a verdict of guilty. During the halcyon period of union between kirk and king their hearty agreement on the subject of witchcraft failed not to beat the fires against the persons suspected of such iniquity. when freed from the influence of such a favourite as the profligate Stuart. the mass. called the Wise Wife of Keith. not only to the indirect policy of Elizabeth. where the king seemed in some measure to have made himself a party in the cause. which in their opinion were mutually associated together. James. it could not be doubted. On the other hand. and natural allies in the great cause of mischief. but to the malevolent purpose of hell itself. their principal enemies. an event which struck the whole kingdom of darkness with alarm. The execution of witches became for these reasons very common in Scotland. The clergy considered that the Roman Catholics. was in his personal qualities rather acceptable to the clergy of his kingdom and period. there was no restraint whatever upon those in whose hands their fate lay. and well disposed to fancy that he had performed it in positive opposition.

and a person infinitely above the rank of the obscure witches with whom she was joined in her crime. This grave dame. Mr. the grave matron before mentioned. which were all to some purpose. and at the same time establishes that the Wise Woman of Keith knew how to turn her profession to account. a very active witch. It is remarkable that the Scottish witchcrafts were not thought sufficiently horrible by the editor of this tract. would not bestow the necessary expenses. she gave her opinion that nothing could amend her unless the devil was raised. called as his nickname Graymeal. “ News from Scotland. a person of some rank. “ God bless the king !” When the monarch of Scotland sprung this strong covey of his favourite game. startling at the proposal. and enjoyed much hazardous reputation as a warlock. alias Douglas. and the sick woman's husband. and doorkeeper to the conclave. seems to have been a kind of white witch.Spottiswood. and the patient died. the widow of a Senator of the College of justice. not as one of the base or ignorant class of ordinary witches. who was cuffed by the devil for saying simply.* Besides these persons. to be wasted and tormented after the usual fashion of necromancy. and by one means or other. Amongst her associates was an unhappy lady of much higher degree. Geillis Duncan. and telling how the animal came lowing after the sorcerer to his schoolroom door. in an account of it published at London. and about thirty other poor creatures of the lowest condition — among the rest. they were indifferently well dressed to his palate. Pitcairn supposes that this connexion may have arisen from her devotion to the Catholic faith and her friendship for the Earl of Bothwell. there was one Barbara Napier. This was Dame Euphane MacCalzean. and being indifferent perhaps about the issue. they afforded the Privy Council and him sport for the greatest part of the remaining winter. and to take the king's life by anointing his linen with poisonous materials. Agnes Sampson. The third person in this singular league of sorcerers was Doctor John Fian. a silly old ploughman. after being an hour tortured by the . and by constructing figures of clay. but a grave matron.” which has been lately reprinted by the Roxburghe Club. affecting to cure diseases by words and charms. a dangerous profession considering the times in which she lived. otherwise Cunninghame. who was schoolmaster at Tranent. like a second Pasiphaë. This man was made the hero of the whole tale of necromancy. This woman was principally engaged in an extensive conspiracy to destroy the fleet of the queen by raising a tempest. whereupon the Wise Wife refused to raise the devil. the original of which charm occurs in the story of Apuleius. and entitled. without adding to them the story of a philtre being applied to a cow's hair instead of that of the young woman for whom it was designed. from the terms of her indictment. He attended on the examinations himself. Neither did she always keep the right and sheltered side of the law in such delicate operations. composed and deliberate in her answers. being consulted in the illness of Isobel Hamilton. for. One article of her indictment proves this.

by the help of the devil. or Cunninghame. pins were driven into the places which the nails usually defended. Satan. The nails were torn from his fingers with smith's pincers. concluded the evening with a divertisement and a dance after his own manner. according to the custom of the Buccaneers. as the bystanders supposed. the number of dancers considered. which was to place his majesty at the mercy of this infernal crew. Cummers. Il est un homme de Dieu . This was considered as bad taste. that is. who danced a ring dance. Another frolic they had when. instead of the demoniacal sobriquet of Rob the Rowar. Fian. and dividing it in fragments among the company. they embarked in sieves with much mirth and jollity. confessed that she had consulted with one Richard Grahame concerning the probable length of the king's life. was also visited by the sharpest tortures. or the like.” After this choral exhibition. where they paced round the church. his finger bones were splintered in the pilniewinks. his knees were crushed in the boots . Euphane MacCalzean. and some other amateur witch above those of the ordinary profession. gang ye before. The devil on this memorable occasion forgot himself.twisting of a cord around her head. the unhallowed crew entered. and he gave an account of a great witch-meeting at North Berwick. singing this chant — “Cummer. where it is accounted very indifferent manners to name an individual by his own name. and then Satan sunk the vessel and all on board. The poor woman also acknowledged that she had held a meeting with those of her sisterhood. The devil was particularly upbraided on this subject by divers respectable-looking females — no question. Gif ye will not gang before. Cummer gang ye. and called Fian by his own name. let me. which they threw into the sea to excite a tempest. and the ball was maintained by well-nigh two hundred persons. in case of affording ground of evidence which may upon a day of trial be brought against him. and she . told them in French respecting King James. The former consisted in disinterring a new-buried corpse. something disconcerted. Barbara Napier. At length his constancy. foreign ship richly laded with wines. the music seems to have been rather imperfect. and the rule is still observed at every rendezvous of forgers. to whom they at length resorted for advice. “ Master !” but the company were dissatisfied with his not having brought a picture of the king. which had been assigned to him as Master of the Rows or Rolls. like the weird sisters in Macbeth. where. and the means of shortening it. They went on board of. dimly seen. in reverse of the motion of the sun. whereupon the bolts gave way. withershinns . hitherto sustained. He was saluted with an ” Hail. smugglers. invisible to the crew. Fian then blew into the lock of the church-door. Geillis Duncan was the only instrumental performer. and resembling a huge haystack in size and appearance. repeatedly promised. But Satan. and their master the devil appeared to his servants in the shape of a black man occupying the pulpit. who had charmed a cat by certain spells. having four joints of men knit to its feet. ordinary and extraordinary. Agnes Sampson. the Fiend rolling himself before them upon the waves. was fairly overcome. they feasted till the sport grew tiresome.

evincing plainly that the Earl of Mar. were themselves threatened with a trial for wilful error upon an assize. the same extort confessions. This rigorous and iniquitous conduct shows a sufficient reason why there should be so few acquittals from a charge of witchcraft where the juries were so much at the mercy of the crown. till they were burned to the death.* His ears were gratified in another way. yet they were burned quick [alive]. and the union of the crowns. Nor did King James's removal to England soften this horrible persecution. nor did Euphane MacCalzean's station in life save her from the common doom. It would be disgusting to follow the numerous cases in which the same uniform credulity. so soon as his own august person was removed from Edinburgh. brak out of the fire. and took great delight to be present at the examinations of the accused. and caused her to play before him the same tune to which Satan and his companions led the brawl in North Berwick churchyard. the same prejudiced and exaggerated evidence. generally acting as clerk or recorder. albeit they persevered constant in their denial to the end. muffled. * and were cast quick in it again. and submitting themselves to the king's pleasure. and was highly honoured. for at this meeting it was said the witches demanded of the devil why he did bear such enmity against the king ? who returned the flattering answer that the king was the greatest enemy whom he had in the world. were becoming fully sensible of the desperate iniquity and inhumanity of these proceedings. when the great discovery was made concerning Euphane MacCalzean and the Wise Wire Keith and their accomplices. and others. half burned. called in Scotland a trump . there occurs a singular entry. of whom a large proportion must have be executed between 1590. led the ring. Fian. Almost all these poor wretches were executed. which was strangling to death. as above mentioned. Dr.” This singular document shows that even in the reign of James. “1608. He sent for Geillis Duncan. his dutiful Privy Council began to think that they .played on a Jew's harp. renouncing and blaspheming [God]. I have modernized the spelling that this appalling record may be legible to all my readers. and being put to an assize and convicted. The Earl of Mar declared to the Council that some women were taken in Broughton as witches. and burning to ashes thereafter. In Sir Thomas Hamiltons's Minutes of Proceedings in the Privy Council. after such a cruel manner that some of them died in despair. and could only escape from severe censure and punishment by pleading guilty. King James was deeply interested in those mysterious meetings. and others of James's Council. December I. The majority of the jury which tried Barbara Napier having acquitted her of attendance at the North Berwick meeting. concluded in the same tragedy at the stake and the pile The alterations and trenching which lately took place the purpose of improving the Castlehill of Edinburgh displayed the ashes of the numbers who had perished in manner.

and to possess the power of a spaeman. burgess of Irvine. the revengeful person already mentioned. the spouse of John Dein. with a sufficient number of mariners. brother of Archibald. as the severities against witches were most unhappily still considered necessary. yet the said Margaret Barclay declared that she gave her hand only in obedience to the kirk-session. reconciliation between the parties. Upon this provocation Margaret Barclay raised an action of slander before the church court. Even while the Independents held the reins of government. the ship was absent on her voyage. who was an owner of the vessel. Two other merchants of some consequence went in the same vessel. but that she still retained her hatred and ill-will against John Dein and his wife. had been slandered by her sister-in-law. When. were obliged to please the common people of Scotland by abandoning the victims accused of witchcraft to the power of the law. a vagabond fellow. went with him to superintend the commercial part of the voyage. and that partans (crabs) might eat the crew at the bottom of the sea. and were satiated with the excess of cruelty which dashed half-consumed wretches back to the flames from which they were striving to escape. Cromwell himself. although the two women shook hands before the court. having in the course of it some peculiar and romantic events. The sad .* Margaret Barclay. the provost. About this time the bark of John Dein was about to sail for France. Instead of plunging into a history of these events which. as guilty of some act of theft. under these auspices. which prosecution. and Andrew Train. praying to God that sea nor salt-water might never bear the ship. had no lasting effect on the course of justice. But the picture.had supt full with horrors. however much it may have been disgusting and terrifying to the Council at the time. and the greater part of the seventeenth century. the kirk-session discharged by directing a. pretending to have knowledge of jugglery. and his major-generals and substitutes. it may amuse the reader to confine the narrative to a single trial. It is the tale of a sailor's wife. Margaret Barclay. after some procedure. was heard to imprecate curses upon the provost's argosy. came to the residence of Tran. and that the good woman of the house was a widow. or Tran. wife of Archibald Dein. named John Stewart. Janet Lyal. Through the whole of the sixteenth. and though the intention of the entry upon the records was obviously for the purpose of preventing such horrid cruelties in future. Nevertheless. and by John Dein himself. little abatement in the persecution of this metaphysical crime of witchcraft can be traced in the kingdom. and dropped explicit hints that the ship was lost. generally speaking. more tragic in its event than that of the chestnut-muncher in Macbeth. are in detail as monotonous as they are melancholy. provost of the burgh of Irvine. though the journals of the time express the horror and disgust with which the English sectarians beheld a practice so inconsistent with their own humane principle of universal toleration. Janet Lyal.

love of man. who lived as servant with Margaret Barclay. but. either from terror or the innate love of falsehood which we have observed as proper to childhood. Stewart.* He added that the whole party left the house together. who was first apprehended. which tended to fix the cause of the loss of the bark on Margaret Barclay. shortly after the ship set sail from harbour. Suspicion of sorcery. arrived. in those days easily awakened. near Padstow. in the belfry of the church. with the melancholy tidings that the bark. Margaret Barclay her mistress. An addition to the evidence against the poor old woman Insh was then procured from her own daughter. So far as well. true or false. who was keeper of a baby belonging to Margaret Barclay. and found her engaged. whether voluntarily declared or extracted by torture.” Stewart declared that he denied to Margaret that he possessed the said arts himself. were assisted by another woman. They then proceeded to mould a figure of a ship in clay. who had seemed to know of the evil fate of the voyage before he could have become acquainted with it by natural means. Legally considered. had been wrecked on the coast of England. She was imprisoned. He had come. when all on board had been lost. except the two sailors who brought the notice. which house he pointed out to the city magistrates. and that. to this woman's house in Irvine. after a space of doubt and anxiety. when he pitched upon a woman called Isobel Insh or Taylor. supposed o represent Provost Tran. roared. such as ladies use to keep. and her mother Isobel Insh. was fixed on Margaret Barclay.truth was afterwards learned on more certain information. one of the figures was made handsome. with other two women. that he might point out her associates in forming the charm. and. with fair hair. This confession having been extorted from the unfortunate juggler. Margaret Tailzeour. the person principally accused. had applied to him to teach her some magic arts. that she might obtain the fruit of sea and land. a child of eight years old . From this house they went to the sea-side. the female acquaintances of Margaret Barclay were next convened. This child. the other suspected person. Two of the seamen. he said. the evidence of this child was contradictory and inconsistent with the confession of the . and cast in the figures of clay representing the ship and the men. kye's milk. he added a string of circumstances. in making clay figures. He went to Margaret's house by night. and a girl of fourteen years old who dwelt at the town-head. who resolutely denied having ever seen him before. her heart's desire on such persons as had done her wrong. the juggler. or had the power of communicating them. finally. in plunging them in the sea. and on John Stewart. “ in order that she might get gear. followed by the black lapdog aforesaid. however. who had imprecated curses on the ship. and during this labour the devil appeared to the company in the shape of a handsome black lap-dog. after which the sea raged. and went into an empty waste-house nearer the seaport. and became red like the juice of madder in a dyer's cauldron. acknowledged that Margaret Barclay. declared that she was present when the fatal models of clay were formed. of which John Dein was skipper and Provost Tran part owner.

and maintained her innocence to the last minute of her life. which we give as stated in the record: — “ My Lord and Earl of Eglintoune (who dwells within the space of one mile to the said burgh) having come to the said burgh at the earnest request of the said justices. the juggler. there were “ iron bolts. She was finally brought to promise that she would fully confess the whole that she knew of the affair on the morrow. The child maintained this story even to her mother's face. according to her account. her mistress promised her a pair of new shoes. in trying of the foresaid devilish practices. for a commission was granted for the trial of the two remaining persons accused. The scene began to thicken. where no manner of person might have access to him till the downsitting of the . for his better preserving to the day of the assize. concurrence and assistance. Bailie Dunlop again urged her to confess. emitted flashes from its jaws and nostrils to illuminate the witches during the performance of the spell. but endeavoured so to modify her declaration as to deny all personal accession to the guilt. The day of trial being arrived. although. if he would dismiss her. for it assigned other particular and dramatis personæ in many respects different. But finding herself in so hard a strait. and dying five days after her fall from the roof of the church. For her own countenance and presence on the occasion. Stewart. The dog also. This poor creature almost admitted the supernatural powers imputed to her. John Stewart. The inhabitants of Irvine attributed her death to poison. only alleging that Isobel Insh remained behind in the waste-house. losing her footing. the following singular events took place. to whose appearance she also added the additional terrors of that of a black man. and to give that marvellous account of his correspondence with Elfland which we have noticed elsewhere. and Margaret Barclay. for giving to them of his lordship's countenance. namely. as they conceived. especially since the girl failed not to swear to the presence of the black dog. by whom she was imprisoned. but have success in all his dealings by sea and land. was put in a sure lockfast booth. Being apprehended. the said John Stewart. but the poor woman was determined to appeal to a more merciful tribunal. she sustained a severe fall and was greatly bruised. being re-examined and confronted with the child. where. promising Bailie Dunlop (also a mariner). the unfortunate woman made use of the darkness to attempt an escape. he should never make a bad voyage. With this view she got out by a back window of the belfry. The conspiracy thus far. and she at length acknowledged her presence at the time when the models of the ship and mariners were destroyed. says the report.” and attained the roof of the church. was easily compelled to allow that the ” little smatchet” was there. and fetters on her. But was accounted sufficiently regular. that. and to ensure her secrecy. the magistrates and ministers wrought bard with Isobel Insh to prevail upon her to tell the truth. denying all that she had formerly admitted.juggler. locks. and was not present when the images were put into the sea. disclosed. conform to the tenor of the foresaid commission.

he was found by the burgh officers who went about him. and then eiking and augmenting the weight by laying on more gauds. by putting of her two bare legs in a pair of stocks. “ And because there was then only in life the said Margaret Barclay. the juggler being sent for at the desire of my Lord of Eglintoune. he revived not. Mr.justice Court. and that God would of his infinite mercy loose him out of the bonds of the devil. who was apprehended by the magistrates of the burgh of Air for witchcraft. as use is. David Dickson. and thereafter by onlaying of certain iron gauds (bars) severally one by one. take off. whom he had served these many years bygone. his knees not being from the ground half a span. to be their own burrioes (slayers). concluded with all possible diligence before the downsitting of the Justice Court to put the said Margaret in torture. were all present within the said burgh. called Janet Bous. constituted by commission after solemn deliberation and advice of the said noble lord. They used the torture underwritten as being most safe and gentle (as the said noble lord assured the said justices). and she should declare truly the whole matter. had put violent hands on himself. with a tait of hemp. according to the increase of the pain. the said Margaret began. And upon that same day of the assize. and was brought out of the house. whose concurrence and advice was chiefly required and taken in this matter. George Dunbar. &c. supposed to have been his garter. strangled and hanged by the cruik of the door. or string of his bonnet. she then uttered these words: ' Take off. had made her associates who were the lights of the cause. nor to get bread to my mouth. and Mr. by God's permission. in respect the devil. “ After using of the which kind of gentle torture. and being of new essayed in torture as of befoir. Which being removed. and for eschewing of the like in the person of the said Margaret. minister at Irvine. But notwithstanding of whatsoever means used in the contrary for remeid of his life. not above the length of two span long.' And immediately after the departing of the two ministers from him. to be confronted with a woman of the burgh of Air. by the help of the devil his master. his life not being totally expelled. about half an hour before the downsitting of the justice Court. and in easing of her by offtaking of the iron gauds one or more as occasion offered. by the help of the devil his master. and uttered these words: — ” I am so straitly guarded that it lies not in my power to get my hand to take off my bonnet. but so ended his life miserably. our sovereign lord's justices in that part particularly above-named. and sent to the burgh of Irvine purposely for that affair. he acquiesced in their prayer and godly exhortation. which iron gauds were but little short gauds. to cry and crave for God's cause to take off her shins the foresaid. and that the persons summoned to pass upon her assize and upon the assize of the juggler who. minister of Air. he was very strictly guarded and fettered by the arms. and for avoiding of putting violent bands on himself. therefore. irons. or a string made of hemp. and before God I shall show you the whole form !' . having gone to him to exhort him to call on his God for mercy for his bygone wicked and evil life. she began at her former denial. and broke not the skin of her legs.

in her circumstances. the sight of her husband awakened some hope and desire of life. her cow give milk. however. without) any kind of demand. “ As you please. Mr. &c. John Cunninghame. minister of Ayr. by rendering of the truth. might be either that she had really in her ignorance and folly tampered with some idle spells. retorting the principal blame on Margaret Barclay herself. minister of Kilmarnock. to come by themselves and to remove all others. George Dunbar. It is singular that she should have again returned to her confession after sentence. and Mr. the husband of Margaret Barclay. when it began to fail. and died affirming it. who was a young and lively person. unmoved by these affecting circumstances. without interrogation. David Dickson.e. although they were placed at her elbow ready to be again laid on her bare shins. and easing of her heart. She at the same time involved in the guilt Isobel Crawford. and saving the rest of the crew. but (i. as she should answer to God the whole matter. Apparently. or a portion of the prayers of the clergy and congregation. as she said.“ And the said irons being of new. Margaret Barclay.” — Trial of Margaret Barclay. God's name by earnest prayer being called upon for opening of her lips. when. and Hugh Kennedy. the said four justices. namely. she . might glorify and magnify his holy name. had hitherto conducted herself like a passionate and high tempered woman innocently accused. or that an apparent penitence for her offence. that she carried about her rowan-tree and coloured thread. appeared in court with a lawyer to act in his wife's behalf. Whose desire in that being fulfilled she made her confession in this manner. freely. that she. her legs in the stocks. But the gentle torture — a strange junction of words — recommended as an anodyne by the good Lord Eglinton — the placing. This poor woman was also apprehended. provost of Ayr. before God. and the only appearance of conviction obtained against her was. minister of the burgh. since the bars were not actually upon her limbs at the time it was delivered.” The jury. . was the only mode in which she could obtain any share of public sympathy at her death. the explanation of which. and in great terror confessed the imputed crime. removed. she then desired my Lord of Eglintoune. which. overcame her resolution. “ Ye have been too long in coming. But all I have confest was in agony of torture. at her screams and declarations that she was willing to tell all. if she was less explicit in her declaration than her auditors wished. the weights were removed. and loading her bare shins with bars of iron. when Alexander Dein. all I have spoken is false and untrue. The trial was then appointed to proceed. however imaginary.” To which she pathetically added. and the said Mr. affirming that it was with the purpose of killing only her brother-in-law and Provost Tran. She then told a story of destroying the ship of John Dein. upon her faithfull promise. and. to make. On this nice distinction they in one voice found Margaret Barclay guilty. minister of Dalry. and she should declare truly. for when the prisoner was asked by the lawyer whether she wished to be defended ? she answered. Mitchell Wallace. 1618. . and Mr. and disappoint the enemy of her salvation. proceeded upon the principle that the confession of the accused could not be considered as made tinder the influence of torture.

” But in shifting the situation of the iron bars. It is scarce possible that. for no day was fixed in which a particular vessel was lost. have endeavoured to justify a belief in the existence of witchcraft. the magistrates. as they conceived. and exposed to personal tortures of an acute description. had made earnest prayers to God for opening her obdurate and closed heart. even by confession of what all believed respecting her. suffer above thirty stone of iron to be laid on her legs. She endured this torture with incredible firmness. This unfortunate young creature was strangled at the stake. incensed at the nature of the crime. how poor wretches. the woman whom she had herself accused. her constancy gave way. and at the loss of several friends of their own. she broke out into horrible cries (though not more than three bars were then actually on her person) of — ” Tak aff — tak aff!” On being relieved from the torture. Four persons here lost their lives. since she did “ admirably. A new commission was granted for her trial. corresponded with the season. The result of the judicial examination of a criminal. forms the most detailed specimen I have met with of a Scottish trial for witchcraft — illustrating. Mr. she made the usual confession of all that she was charged with. having died with many expressions of religion and penitence. very particularly and at considerable length. is the . Accordingly in the present case. and absolutely refusing to pardon the executioner. deprived of all human sympathy. rather than struggle hopelessly against so many evils. as it were. without any kind of din or exclamation. so perilous as it seemed to men of a maritime life. by God and the world. Sentence was given against her accordingly. she was subjected to the torture of iron bars laid upon her bare shins. even in modern times. a man of sense can listen for an instant to the evidence founded on confessions thus obtained. which has been almost the sole reason by which a few individuals. and died without any sign of repentance. in particular. It is remarkable that she earnestly entreated the magistrates that no harm should be done to Isobel Crawford. but remaining. became disposed to throw away the lives that were rendered bitter to them by a voluntary confession of guilt. steady. and removing them to another part of her shins. after reading such a story. inculpated by Margaret Barclay's confession. one of whom had been their principal magistrate. David Dickson. offering repeated interruption to the minister in his prayer. when extorted by such means. she openly denied all her former confessions. and after the assistant minister of Irvine. three victims having already perished by this accusation. as it is. a fact told differently by the witnesses who spoke of it. abandoned.might be willing to purchase. merely because the throwing some clay models into the sea. her feet being in the stocks. and her body burnt to ashes. as in the case of Margaret Barclay. and of a connexion with the devil which had subsisted for several years. did not forbear to insist against Isobel Crawford. never shrinking thereat in any sort. This tragedy happened in the year 1613. It was one fatal consequence of these cruel persecutions. After this had been denounced. that one pile was usually lighted at the embers of another. and recorded.

In this capacity he was understood. is so much distinguished by fame among the numerous instances which occurred in Scottish history. lost their lives during two centuries on such charges and such evidence as proved the death of those persons in the trial of the Irvine witches. One case. and. He was peculiar in his gift of prayer. nor would he have recourse to prayer. and his mother a lady of family in Clydesdale). as he had no hope whatever of escaping Satan. He received sentence of death. 1670. as was indeed implied in the duties of that officer at the period. as his indictment was chiefly founded on the same document. there was no need of incensing him by vain efforts at repentance. that when this stick was taken from him. It was also remarkable in his case that he had been a Covenanter. until it came to be observed that. he avowed solemnly that he had not confessed the hundredth part of the crimes which he had committed. but such as urged him not to repent. in short. We might here take leave of our Scottish history of witchcraft by barely mentioning that many hundreds. From this time he would answer no interrogatory. It appears that the Major. an infirmity easily reconcilable with the formal pretences which he made to a high show of religious zeal. however. to be very strict in executing severity upon such Royalists as fell under his military charge. When he had completed his confession. which Procured him his title of Major. which he generally walked with. in which he alleged he had never seen the devil. This Major Weir was seized by the magistrates on a strange whisper that became current respecting vile practices. is scarce admissible without the corroboration of other testimony. which he seems to have admitted without either shame or contrition. by some association. Major Weir and his sister. arguing that. that we are under the necessity of bestowing a few words upon those celebrated persons. which it is more easy to conceive than to explain. his wit and talent appeared to forsake him. and was in 1649 commander of the City-Guard of Edinburgh. was often called to exercise his talent by the bedside of sick persons. with a maiden sister who had kept his house. though he appears to have been in many respects a wicked and criminal hypocrite. but any feeling he had of him was in the dark. as was the custom of the period. at the Gallow-hill. nay perhaps thousands. the consequence perhaps of remorse. The case of this notorious wizard was remarkable chiefly from his being a man of some condition (the son of a gentleman. was subject to fits of melancholic lunacy. It was noticed. His witchcraft seems to have been taken for granted on his own confession. The disgusting profligacies which he confessed were of such a character that it may be charitably hoped most of them were the fruits of a depraved imagination. but to .most suspicious of all evidence. He died so stupidly sullen and impenitent as to justify the opinion that he was oppressed with a kind of melancholy frenzy. between Leith and Edinburgh. which was seldom the case with those that fell under similar accusations. and even when voluntarily given. which he suffered 12th April. In the years of the Commonwealth this man was trusted and employed by those who were then at the head of affairs. and peculiarly attached to that cause. he could not pray with the same warmth and fluency of expression unless when he had in his hand a stick of peculiar shape and appearance.

and that while there her brother received information of the event of the battle of Worcester. Her last words were in the tone of the sect to which her brother had so long affected to belong: “ Many. some account of her connexion with the queen of the fairies. in their turn. to retort on their adversaries the charge of sorcery. Andrews his book called ” Ravaillac Redivivus. She gave. Hickes. a scholar and an antiquary. upon whom the Covenanters used to throw many aspersions respecting their receiving proof against shot from the devil. rejoiced to have an opportunity. had the honour to be amongst the first to decline acting as a commissioner on the trial of a witch. so many of which occurred near and in Edinburgh.” said. As knowledge and learning began to increase. Dr.” written with the unjust purpose of attaching to the religious sect to which the wizard and assassin belonged the charge of having fostered and encouraged the crimes they committed or attempted. was condemned also to death. and invited them to visit a friend at Dalkeith. although not discontinued. well suited for a necromancer. but alas ! few are weeping for a broken Covenant. No one saw the style of their equipage except themselves. to which he was appointed so early as 1678.” was with difficulty prevented from throwing off her clothes before the people. with whom he was supposed to have had an incestuous connexion. “ weep and lament for a poor old wretch like me.” The Scottish prelatists. and acknowledged the assistance she received from that sovereign in spinning an unusual quantity of yarn. the grandfather of the late celebrated John Clerk of Eldin. Sir John Clerk. as usual. the gentlemen and clergy of Scotland became ashamed of the credulity of their ancestors. The remains of the house in which he and his sister lived are still shown at the head of the West Bow. and the case of Mitchell. leaving a stronger and more explicit testimony of their mutual sins than could be extracted from the Major. to die ” with the greatest shame possible. more seldom disgrace our records of criminal jurisprudence. and bold was the urchin from the High School who dared approach the gloomy ruin at the risk of seeing the Major's enchanted staff parading through the old apartments. but no family would inhabit the haunted walls as a residence. It was at different times a brazier's shop and a magazine for lint. It is certain that no story of witchcraft or necromancy. who fired at the Archbishop of St. as she said. On the scaffold this woman.* . Of her brother she said that one day a friend called upon them at noonday with a fiery chariot. and witch trials. and other infernal practices. which procured for his sister such a character as a spinner. and with scarce less trouble was she flung from the ladder by the executioner. At the time I am writing this last fortress of superstitious renown is in the the course of being destroyed. the author of ” Thesaurus Septentrionalis. It seems probable that he was burnt alive. which has a gloomy aspect.despair.” published on the subject of Major Weir. made such a lasting impression on the public mind as that of Major Weir. determining. in order to the modern improvements now carrying on in a quarter long thought unimprovable. His sister. and in my younger days was employed for the latter use. or hearing the hum of the necromantic wheel.

apparently a man of melancholic and valetudinary habits. it is reasonably to be concluded that she had herself formed the picture or image of Sir George. Bell in his MS. features. laid an accusation of witchcraft against two women. of whom five were executed. Yet these dawnings of sense and humanity were obscured by the clouds of the ancient superstition on more than one distinguished occasion. Janet . a late instance whereof we had in the west. beginning her practices out of a quarrel with a maid-servant. “ I own. One of the unhappy creatures. besides one John Reed. who affected fits. have yet moved many to suspect and defame their neighbours. who were leagued for the purpose of tormenting a clay image in his likeness. and imprisoned with the usual severities. daughter of John Shaw. But as her imposture was afterwards discovered and herself punished. In 1676. lest he should make disclosures to the detriment of the service. or. poverty. The chief evidence on the subject was a vagabond girl. drily. was strangled by the devil in person. was the principal evidence. Sir George Maxwell. who were accordingly seized on. believed himself bewitched to death by six witches. to the unspeakable prejudice of Christian charity. as was charitably said. where a young girl. Allan Ramsay.” says the Rev. and in the means made use of for promoting the discovery of such wretches and bringing them to justice. Mr. his friend. pretending to be deaf and dumb. In the year 1704 a frightful instance of popular bigotry occurred at Pittenweem. with such like grounds not worthy to be represented to a magistrate.” ” there has been much harm done to worthy and innocent persons in the common way of finding out witches. A still more remarkable case occurred at Paisley in 1697. and which was occasioned mostly by the forwardness and absurd credulity of diverse otherwise worthy ministers of the gospel. In the meantime. “ Treatise on Witchcraft. and the sixth only escaped on account of extreme youth.” where Mause's imaginary witchcraft constitutes the machinery of the poem. But even those who believed in witchcraft were now begin to open their eyes to the dangers in the present mode of prosecution. so that oftentimes old age. had delivered his opinion on the subject in the “ Gentle Shepherd. of Bargarran. that he did not feel himself warlock (that is. began to take courage and state their objections boldly.” * Those who doubted of the sense of the law or reasonableness of the practice in such cases. This unlucky damsel. and some topping professors in and about the city of Glasgow. conjurer) sufficient to be a judge upon such an inquisition. one man and five women. and ill-fame. and who must be supposed to speak the sense of his many respectable patrons. in the business of the sorceries exercised upon the Laird of Bargarran's daughter. five of the accused were executed. and had hid it where it was afterwards found in consequence of her own information. anno 1697 — a time when persons of more goodness and esteem than most of their calumniators were defamed for witches.alleging. continued to imitate a case of possession so accurately that no less than twenty persons were condemned upon her evidence. A strolling vagabond. about eleven years of age. of Pollock. who hanged himself in prison.

and betwixt his Highland arms of knife. Her leg being broken. which. In 1718. before what court. operated upon by all the prejudices of the country and the populace. but it so happened. it should take place. The officers in the higher branches of the law dared now assert their official authority and reserve for their own decision cases of supposed witchcraft which the fear of public clamour had induced them formerly to leave in the hands of inferior judges. and in the long run the sentiments which it advocates are commonly those of good sense and humanity. escaped from prison. and the question which remained was. that he. in such cases. where she also died. and broad-sword. whether any process should be directed against persons whom. the Sheriff-depute. as usual. during the general distraction of the country concerning the Union. ” a thing of too great difficulty to be tried without very deliberate advice. pined. wrote a severe letter of censure to the Sheriff-depute of Caithness. The case of. There were answers published. whether they should be made subject of a trial or not. Robert Dundas of Arniston. a third. as having neglected to communicate officially certain precognitions which he had led respecting some recent practices of witchcraft in his county. “ spoke among themselves. first. as his servant-maid reported. swung her suspended on a rope betwixt a ship and the shore. intended to judge in the case himself. and finally fell off. . In consequence of his blows. and brought back to Pittenweem. named Nin Gilbert. she had.” The Sheriff-depute sends. was so infested with cats. dirk. that the murder went without the investigation which a crime so horrid demanded. consisting of rude seamen and fishers. He also called the magistrate's attention to a report. The magistrates made no attempts for her rescue.” that he fell in a rage upon a party of these animals which had assembled in his house at irregular hours. it was something gained that the cruelty was exposed to the public. Still. and heaping stones upon it till she was pressed to death. in her compelled confession. and his professional weapon of an axe. The Advocate reminded this local judge that the duty of inferior magistrates. and the crowd exercised their brutal pleasure on the poor old woman. however. with his apology. named William Montgomery. in the first place. the injured limb withered. was to advise with the King's Counsel. and beyond the jurisdiction of an inferior court. the celebrated lawyer. The superior authorities were expected to take up the affair. on which the hag was enclosed in prison. and in what manner. A certain carpenter. two witches were said to have died. a warm attack was made upon the magistrates and ministers of the town by those who were shocked at a tragedy of such a horrible cast. pelted her with stones. in which the parties assailed were zealously defended. and finally ended her miserable existence by throwing a door over her as she lay exhausted on the beach. then King's Advocate. which is one of the most nonsensical in this nonsensical department of the law. and if so. As even the existing laws against witchcraft were transgressed by this brutal riot. The voice of general opinion was now appealed to. he made such a dispersion that they were quiet for the night. but was unhappily caught. the precognition * of the affair. where she fell into the hands of a ferocious mob. was still more remarkable.Cornfoot by name.

to play the possessed and bewitched person. by placing in a cowhouse. when the discipline of the navy proved too sever for his cunning. an ignorant and malignant woman seems really to have meditated the destruction of her neighbour's property. and the witch would have been torn to pieces had not a high-spirited and excellent lady in the neighbourhood gathered some of her people (though these were not very fond of the service). the design conjectured. In 1720. Lord Torphichen. as may be supposed. a Sheriff-depute of Sutherland. a pot of baked clay containing locks of hair. but the Crown counsel would not proceed to trial. under instructions. to whom the poor of her extensive country are as well known as those of the higher order. The remains of the superstition sometimes occur. evincing that the belief in witchcraft is only asleep. in flagrant violation of the then established rules of jurisdiction. quashed all further procedure. who had so little idea of her situation as to rejoice at the sight of the fire which was destined to consume her. or byre as we call it. was living so lately as to receive the charity of the present Marchioness of Stafford. and by main force taken the unfortunate creature out of the hands of the populace. in process of time he became a good sailor. and other trumpery. In the year 1722. took it upon him.informed against. and other counter-spells. The Lord Advocate. laying the cause of his distress on certain old witches in Calder. unless to prevent explosions of popular enmity against people suspected of such a crime. took it into his head. It does not appear that any punishment was inflicted for this cruel abuse of the law on the person of a creature so helpless. he himself distinguished by the same misfortune. and though he is said at one time to have been disposed to try his fits while on board. The noble family also began to see through the cheat. it is said. to pronounce the last sentence of death for witchcraft which was ever passed in Scotland. and get her shod by the devil. In a remote part of the Highlands. and finally was drowned in a storm. and one or two of them died. the third son of James. The boy was sent to sea. The victim was an insane old woman belonging to the parish of Loth. Countess of Sutherland in her own right. The women were imprisoned. This precious spell was discovered. but the lame daughter. an unlucky boy. Captain David Ross of Littledean. An instance or two may be quoted chiefly as facts known to the author himself. She had a daughter lame both of hands and feet. parings of nails. a circumstance attributed to the witch's having been used to transform her into a pony. near to which village his father had his mansion. and might in remote comers be again awakened to deeds of blood. there can be no doubt that the vulgar are still addicted to the custom of scoring above the breath* (as it is termed). Since this deplorable action there has been no judicial interference in Scotland on account of witchcraft. from a knavish governor. assisted gallantly in defence of the vessel against the pirates of Angria. of which some instances could be produced. The formidable spell is now in my possession. .

she must expose herself to suspicions. and chiefly because the farmers were un-willing to sell grain in the very moderate quantities which she was able to purchase.” he said. subsisted chiefly by rearing chickens. and create much trouble and disadvantage. and the whole circumstances are well known to me. which was just setting off for the market. but true. A solitary old woman. in a wild and lonely district.” On receiving this answer. an operation requiring so much care and attention that the gentry. against the operations of witchcraft on the cattle which are kept within. The good farmer hardly knew what to think of this. I dare say you will get all you want at such a place. or such a place. He reminded her that. They parted. off came the wheel from one of them. he hastened to consult the sheriff of the county. the dearth of the years alluded to. and to open these sacks again. upon a case so extraordinary. would cast my accounts loose. and that should coincidences happen to irritate her . The last Scottish story with which I will trouble you happened in or shortly after the year 1800. The dearth of the years in the end of the eighteenth and beginning of this century was inconvenient to all. and requested him as a favour to sell her a peck of oats at any price. if she used her tongue with so much license.About two years since. It is strange. as a friend rather than a magistrate. and without which her little stock of poultry must have been inevitably starved. and five or six sacks of corn were damaged by the water. envy stigmatized her as having some unlawful mode of increasing the gains of her little trade. in the town of Dalkeith. honest man. and even the farmers' wives. the old woman's temper gave way. The official person showed him that the laws against witchcraft were abrogated. She scolded the wealthy farmer. As the old woman in the present instance fought her way through life better than her neighbours. “ I am sorry to be obliged to refuse you. But she felt. but my corn is measured out for Dalkeith market. Among the almost innumerable droves of bullocks which come down every year from the Highlands for the south. as the carts crossed the ford of the river beneath the farm-house. which is also a precaution lest an evil eye or an evil spell may do the animal harm. according to tradition. In distress on this account. a very good-natured. there is scarce one but has a curious knot upon his tail. the dame went to a neigbbouring farmer. and wished evil to his property. there was found below the threshold-stone the withered heart of some animal stuck fall of many scores of pins — a counter-charm. like others. but distressing to the poor. and for so small a quantity. and sure enough. et malum secutum . and had little difficulty to bring him to regard the matter in its true light of an accident. there were the two circumstances deemed of old essential and sufficient to the crime of witchcraft-Damnum minatum . that the accused herself was not to be reconciled to the sheriff's doctrine so easily. Scarce knowing what to believe. “ Good neighbour. after some angry language on both sides. as they were taking down the walls of a building formerly used as a feeding-house for cattle. and apparently she did not take much alarm at the accusation. sensible. my carts are loaded to set out. often find it better to buy poultry at a certain age than to undertake the trouble of bringing them up.

which took place in Ayrshire.” lib. in short. to cost the lives of those who make their boast of them. 43. 45 * Sinclair's “Satan's Invisible World Discovered. and that he had no apprehension of being hurt by her.neighbours. * “Lucii Apuleii Metamorphoses. was sent to me by a friend who withheld his name. “He is lord of the hunting horn. their consequences. So low.” p. “ I would be laith to wish ony ill either to you or yours. but something aye comes after my words when I am ill-guided and speak ower fast. gar cast her a pickle. 98. is now the belief in witchcraft. so that he wants nothing but an indulgent judge to awake again the old ideas of sorcery. The southern reader must be informed that the jurisdiction or regality of Broughton embraced Holyrood. She was rather more angry than pleased at the well-meaning sheriff's scepticism. i.” she said. * A copy of the record of the trial. probably because the lord received his company there. let her wish her worst to him. which might have in other times conveyed her to the stake. but as it contains material resembling those out of which many tragic incidents have arisen. for which her expressions. George Sinclair. “The silly bit chicken. in Renfrewshire.” In short. He therefore requested her to be more cautious in her language for her own sake. would go near.” * See p. But that of another. ” for I kenna how it is. The author was Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. as on former occasions.” p.136 Pining We should read perhaps. * Fountainhall's “ Decisions. she was obstinate in claiming an influence over the destiny of others by words and wishes. The tree near the front of an ancient castle was called the Covine tree . sir. were they received by the community in general. p.” vol. And king of the Covine tree. and ascribes his illness to their charms. And she will grow mickle. she might suffer harm at a time when there was no one to protect her. at the same time. At least one hypochondriac patient is known to the author. Canongate. that perhaps it is only received by those half-crazy individuals who feel a species of consequence derived from accidental coincidences. “limb and lire. and her disposition to insist upon their efficacy. * Sinclair's ” Satan's Invisible World Discovered. * Or Scottish wandering beggar. * This . his belief that her words and intentions were perfectly harmless.” * I am obliged to the kindness of Mr. so that I can only thank him in this general acknowledgment. would certainly of old have made her a fit victim. * This word Covine seems to signify a subdivision or squad. * Mackenzie's “Criminal Law.” p. iii. * The music of this witch tune is unhappily lost. who believes himself the victim of a gang of witches. 15.” by Mr. Pitcairn for this singular extract. At present the story is scarcely worth mentioning. which. * “Satan's invisible World. He's well loo'd in the western waters. and bore the same relation to that city as the borough of Southwark to London. professing. and afterwards minister of Eastwood. Leith. is preserved. believed to have been popular on such occasions. But best of his ain minnie. and other suburban parts of Edinburgh. And she will do good.” § Stubble.

may remind the reader of Cazotte's “Diable Amoureux. who flattered those who confided in her that the planets and stars in their spheres figure forth and influence the fate of the creatures of mortality. * The precognition is the record of the preliminary evidence on which the public officers charged in Scotland with duties entrusted to a grand jury in England. 93.” vol. WHILE the vulgar endeavoured to obtain a glance into the darkness of futurity by consulting the witch or fortune-teller. 15. anno 1649 — Imposture called the Stockwell Ghost — Similar Case in Scotland — Ghost appearing to an Exciseman — Story of a Disturbed House discovered by the firmness of the Proprietor — Apparition at Plymouth — A Club of Philosophers — Ghost Adventure of a Farmer — Trick upon a Veteran Soldier — Ghost Stories recommended by the Skill of the Authors who compose them — Mrs. Forman — Establishment of the Royal Society — Partridge — Connexion of Astrologers with Elementary Spirits — Dr. while it was at the same time most seductive to human credulity. the events of any man's career. incur the responsibility of sending an accused person to trial. was that of astrology.: Prefatory Notice. chiromancy. the great were supposed to have a royal path of their own. with some approach to certainty. p. that is. his chance of . But the road most flattering to human vanity. commanding a view from a loftier quarter of the same terra incognita . Physiognomy. p. i. confided in all throughout Scotland as the most powerful counter charm.” edited by C. Vincent — Of a British General Officer — Of an Apparition in France — Of the Second Lord Lyttelton — Of Bill Jones — Of Jarvis Matcham — Trial of two Highlanders for the Murder of Sergeant Davis. This was represented as accessible by several routes. the queen of mystic sciences. Other Mystic Arts independent of Witchcraft — Astrology — Its Influence during the 16th and 17th Centuries — Base Ignorance of those who practised it — Lilly's History of his Life and Times — Astrologer's Society — Dr. Veal's Ghost — Dunton's Apparition Evidence — Effect of Appropriate Scenery to Encourage a Tendency to Superstition — Differs at distant Periods of Life — Night at Glammis Castle about 1791 — Visit to Dunvegan in 1814. and other fantastic arts of prediction afforded each its mystical assistance and guidance. by two cuts in the form of a cross on the witch's forehead. Lamb — Dr. and that a sage acquainted with her lore could predict. Esq. * Drawing blood. * Law's “Memorialls. LETTER X.” * See Fountainhall's “ Decisions. Sharpe. discovered by a Ghost — Disturbances at Woodstock. Dun — Irish Superstition of the Banshie — Similar Superstition in the Highlands — Brownie — Ghosts — Belief of Ancient Philosophers on that Subject — Inquiry into the respect due to such Tales in Modern Times — Evidence of a Ghost against a Murderer — Ghost of Sir George Villiers — Story of Earl St. K.

like the oracles of yore. The wisest men have been cheated by the idea that some supernatural influence upheld and guided them. Lilly. by the grossest frauds. was all that was necessary to enable the astrologer to erect a scheme of the position of the heavenly bodies. Lilly himself. Imagination was dazzled by a prospect so splendid. and some knowledge by rote of the terms of art. the science was little pursued by those who. whose responses were. and imposing. lived from day to day and from year to year upon hopes as unsubstantial as the smoke of his furnace. who wrote the history of his own life and times. whose knowledge was imposition. and from the time of Wallenstein to that of Buonaparte. inflamed by hopes of temporal aggrandizement. provided always he could supply the exact moment of his birth. be made a proper use of. Such being the case. and almost without exception describes them as profligate. instead of starving. Bacon himself allowed the truth which might be found in a wellregulated astrology. notices in that curious volume the most distinguished persons of his day. But the pursuits of the astrologer were such as called for instant remuneration. even the alchemist. was sufficiently fitted to dupe others. though talking loud and high of the endless treasures his art was to produce. his advance in favour of the great. if sometimes they were elevated into rank and fortune. This. or Native. and who. if even Bacon could have taught such moderation. or answer any other horary questions. From what we learn of his own history. by duping himself. always forward and assuming. sharking cheats. worthless. abandoned to vice. and we find that in the sixteenth century the cultivation of this fantastic science was the serious object of men whose understandings and acquirements admit of no question. and the place of such calm and disinterested pursuers of truth was occupied by a set of men sometimes ingenious. with all its changes. which he might be anxious to propound. . which should disclose the life of the interrogator. grounded on the desire of deceit. with some gloomy shades of fanaticism in his temperament. a low-born ignorant man. Almost all the other paths of mystic knowledge led to poverty. as they were termed.success in life or in marriage. as he conceived. would not have suited the temper of those who. faithful in their remarks and reports. making thus a distinction betwixt the art as commonly practised and the manner in which it might. But a grave or sober use of this science. must soon have discovered its delusive vanity through the splendour of its professions. ambition and success have placed confidence in the species of fatalism inspired by a belief of the influence of their own star. pretended to understand and explain to others the language of the stars. past. This was the more apt to be the case that a sufficient stock of impudence. as he was called. who made pretensions to astrology. were more frequently found classed with rogues and vagabonds. in the sixteenth and greater part of the seventeenth centuries. like others. were all the store of information necessary for establishing a conjurer. and that artist lived by duping others. present. and to come. upon the silly fools who consulted them. The natural consequence of the degraded character of the professors was the degradation of the art itself. He became rich by the eager hopes and fond credulity of those who consulted him.

what Lilly. like other overgrown favourites. who was consulted by the Countess of Essex on the best mode of conducting her guilty intrigue with the Earl of Somerset. In the time of the Commonwealth he foresaw the perpetual destruction of the monarchy. . But the astrologers of the 17th century did not confine themselves to the stars. doubtless. than he himself might boast. and his maid-servant. was in 1640 pulled to pieces in the city of London by the enraged populace. which were viewed by one party with horror. though coming from such unworthy authority. Lilly was a prudent person. as it did all others concerned. hanged as a witch at Salisbury. the most opposite possible to exact science. with the Parliamentary leaders on the other. patronised by the Duke of Buckingham. or Gadbury had discovered from the heavens touching the fortune of the strife. Once a year. and eager to believe. He maintained some credit even among the better classes. too. and in 1660 this did not prevent his foreseeing the restoration of Charles II. The astrologers embraced different sides of the Civil War. respecting the mystic arts. When the cause was tried. they were scandalous as panders. the ” most honourable Esquire. where the knaves were patronised by the company of such fools as claimed the title of Philomaths — that is. Elias Ashmole. in King James's time. Yet the public still continue to swallow these gross impositions. and the gale of fortune. It was even said that the devil was about to pull down the court-house on their being discovered. Forman. Others of the audience only saw in them the baby figures on which the dressmakers then. who. In the villanous transaction of the poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury. by which name were still distinguished those who encouraged the pursuit of mystical prescience.and perhaps cheated himself merely by perusing. seldom failed to attend. was then common in society. another professor of the same sort with Lamb. several men of sense and knowledge honoured this rendezvous. nay. were both equally curious to know. Lamb.” to whom Lilly's life is dedicated. which might otherwise have cost him the gibbet. as now. Wharton. He was dead before the affair broke out. Dr. much mention was made of the art and skill of Dr. the astrologers had a public dinner or feast. No person could better discover from various omens the course of Charles's misfortunes. the dupe of astrology and its sister arts. some little puppets were produced in court. Congreve's picture of a man like Foresight. as representing the most horrid spells. the atrocious authors of the crime. were accustomed to expose new fashions. For such reasons the common people detested the astrologers of the great as cordially as they did the more vulgar witches of their own sphere. lovers of the mathematics. being persons extremely credulous. thirteen years afterwards. though perhaps more pretence to science. and the king on one side. so soon as they had come to pass. There was no province of fraud which they did not practise. was inclined to cherish astrology. with the exception only of the principal parties. at an advanced period of life. and as quacks sold potions for the most unworthy purposes. some of the astrological tracts devised by men of less cunning. for Aubrey and Ashmole both called themselves his friends. contriving with some address to shift the sails of his prophetic bark so as to suit the current of the time.

or reader. assumed by these persons and their clients. who are now seldom heard of. to assume the character of an astrologer. and is never ascribed to any descendant of the proudest Norman or boldest Saxon who followed the banner of Earl Strongbow. Some superstition of the same kind was introduced by the celebrated Count Cagliostro. though denying the use of all necromancy — that is unlawful or black magic — pretended always to a correspond. an excellent mathematician. is one of the last occasions in which astrology has afforded even a jest to the good people of England. was entrusted to a third party. dedicated to far different purposes than the pursuits of astrology. The unfortunate Dee was ruined by his associates both in fortune and reputation. the distinction of a banshie is only allowed to families of the pure Milesian stock. and issued predictions accordingly. seemingly mourning. Crofton Croker and others. a boy or girl usually under the years of puberty. while she announces the approaching death of some one of the destined race. The subject has been so lately and beautifully investigated and illustrated by Mr. some fairy. their actions and answers. once a shoemaker. under the title of Nestor Ironside. by the report of one Kelly who acted as his viewer. led to a controversy. a mirror. one of the most beautiful is the Irish fiction which assigns to certain families of ancient descent and distinguished rank the privilege of a Banshie. which was supported with great humour by Swift and other wags. but at the time the conductor of an Astrological Almanack. but now restricted to those which continue to be inhabited by an undisturbed and native race. one of which. perhaps. and compel it to appear when called. the name of Philomath. that I may dispense with being very particular regarding it. as she is called.” because the earlier astrologers. common to all the countries of Europe.The erection of the Royal Society. His show-stone or mirror is still preserved among other curiosities in the British Museum. and imprison in a ring. sylph. This dishonoured science has some right to be mentioned in a “ Treatise on Demonology. They affirmed they could bind to their service. Dismissing this general class of impostors. ence with the various spirits of the elements. When Sir Richard Steele set up the paper called the Guardian. we come now briefly to mention some leading superstitions once. with Swift's Elegy on the same person. Of these. but the task of viewer. Dr. and is said to have been imposed upon concerning the spirits attached to it. and render answers to such questions as the viewer should propose. whose office it is to appear. or household fairy. much less to adventurers of later date who have obtained settlements in the Green Isle. had a stone of this kind. or a stone. I believe you will find that this. . Dee. he chose. began to sink under ridicule and contempt. or salamander. had a natural operation in bringing the latter into discredit. during the course of the intrigue respecting the diamond necklace in which the late Marie Antoinette was so unfortunately implicated. If I am rightly informed. announcing the death of a person called Partridge. on the principles of the Rosicrucian philosophy. It is remarkable that the sage himself did not pretend to see the spirit. and although the credulity of the ignorant and uninformed continued to support some pretenders to that science.

at others. which. he had ale very good. to whom an old woman in the house said. for though the wort wrought well. were not limited to announcing the dissolution of those whose days were numbered. but the third succeeded. and thus. James Hogg. These particular superstitions.” Another story of the same kind is told of a lady in Uist. that a young man in the Orkneys ” used to brew. which was Brownie's eyesore and the object of his wrath. if he continued to do. whereupon the first and second brewings were spoilt. by the residence of a Brownie. Before the death of any of his race the phantom-chief gallops along the sea-beach near to the castle. the usual sacrifice to this domestic spirit. and sometimes as condescending to interfere even in the sports of the chieftain. however. food or raiment. the functions of this attendant genius. The spectre is said to have rode his rounds and uttered his death-cries within these few years. sometimes as warding off dangers of battle. he abandoned the inhospitable house. though much shocked. who refused.Several families of the Highlands of Scotland anciently laid claim to the distinction of an attendant spirit who performed the office of the Irish banshie. when he brewed. we are informed by Brand. or the best card to be played at any other game. yet in a little time it left off working. when Brownie lost the perquisite to which he had been so long accustomed. was Bodsbeck in Moffatdale. as it was styled. and sometimes read upon his Bible. and too much obliterated from recollection. announcing the event by cries and lamentations. Among those spirits who have deigned to vouch their existence by appearance of late years. are too limited. which has been the subject of an entertaining tale by Mr. would not suffer any sacrifice to be given to Brownie. and for no use. or. The last place in the south of Scotland supposed to have been honoured. Thus. or brewing. however. Neither was it all times safe to reject Brownie's assistance. The general faith in fairies has already . who served faithfully. being better instructed from that book. or benefited. but many of the simple inhabitants could little see the prudence of parting with such a useful domestic drudge. where his services had so long been faithfully rendered. hired away. in consequence of which the family and clan. by the offer of clothes or food. whose form and appearance differed in different cases. as guarding and protecting the infant heir through the dangers of childhood. where he served under Lord Wellington. but of the third broust. but he. already mentioned as somewhat resembling Robin Goodfellow in the frolicsome days of Old England. they would get no more service of Brownie. on religious grounds. to call for special discussion. were in no way surprised to hear by next accounts that their gallant chief was dead at Lisbon. Amongst them. Of a meaner origin and occupation was the Scottish Brownie. The Highlanders contrived to exact from them other points of service. and point out the fittest move to be made at chess. though he would not give any sacrifice to Brownie. and grew cold. with whom afterwards they were no more troubled. the self-instructed genius of Ettrick Forest. is that of an ancestor of the family of MacLean of Lochbuy. The first and second brewings failed. without fee and reward. that Brownie was displeased with that book he read upon. This spirit was easily banished.

applies with peculiar force to the belief of ghosts. and. render the supposed apparition of the dead the most ordinary spectral phenomenon which is ever believed to occur among the living.” Nothing appears more simple at the first view of the subject. than that human memory should recall and bring back to the eye of the imagination. We have said there are many ghost stories which we do not feel at liberty to challenge as impostures. considers the existence of ghosts. far too obvious to require recapitulation. The son does not easily forget the aspect of an affectionate father. It would indeed be a solecism in manners. and he would be rather accounted a sturdy moralist than an entertaining companion who should employ himself in assailing its credibility. a waking reverie. Hence Lucretius himself. and in one or other of these causes. as facts so undeniable that he endeavours to account for them at the expense of assenting to a class of phenomena very irreconcilable to his general system. but something remains to be said upon another species of superstition. so deeply rooted also in human belief. the countenance of a murdered person is engraved upon the recollection of his slayer. for reasons opposite but equally powerful. therefore. or which have been imprinted in our minds with indelible strength by some striking circumstances touching our meeting in life. from averring that such tales are necessarily false. continues to wander near the place of sepulture. though there is no real phantom after all. and at the same time cannot venture to question the phenomena supposed to haunt the repositories of the dead. and that the outmost and thinnest. that it is found to survive in states of society during which all other fictions of the same order are entirely dismissed from influence. the most absolute of sceptics. something like that of impeaching the genuine value of . has called the belief in ghosts ” the last lingering fiction of the brain. and their frequent apparition. being detached by death.undergone our consideration. Mr. A thousand additional circumstances. or the misrepresentation of a diseased organ of sight. the evidence with respect to such apparitions is very seldom accurately or distinctly questioned. it is in this way that it commonly exhibits itself. we apprehend a solution will be found for all cases of what are called real ghost stories. Crabbe. in perfect similitude. A supernatural tale is in most cases received as an agreeable mode of amusing society. to say nothing of a system of deception which may in many instances be probable. We are far. because we are confident that those who relate them on their own authority actually believe what they assert. even the very form and features of a person with whom we have been long conversant. As he will not allow of the existence of the human soul. he is obliged to adopt the belief that the body consists of several coats like those of an onion. for whether the cause of delusion exists in an excited imagination or a disordered organic system. with his usual felicity. In truth. so general that it may be called proper to mankind in every climate. the excitation of a powerful imagination. All that we have formerly said respecting supernatural appearances in general. and may have good reason for doing so. It is easy to suppose the visionary has been imposed upon by a lively dream. in the exact resemblance of the person while alive.

a well-bred or prudent man will. It is a rare occurrence. it may be. The narrator is asked. tinged as it is with belief of the general fact. which my office compels me to reject. that we are often expected to believe an incident inconsistent with the laws of Nature. but your communication is mere hearsay. which sufficiently accounted for the supposed apparitions. The nearest approximation which can be generally made to exact evidence in this case. some unimportant question with respect to the apparition. even from the most candid and honourable persons. Upon the evidence of such historians we might as well believe the portents of ancient or the miracles of modern Rome. and that in the case of able. Summon him hither. or being well acquainted with the outside of the mansion in the inside of which the ghost appeared. we read in .” said his lordship. In every point the evidence of such a second-hand retailer of the mystic story must fall under the adjudged case in an English court. who have told it successively to each other. ” the ghost is an excellent witness. than to the pure service of unadorned truth. and by doing so often gives a feature of minute evidence which was before wanting. from the person to whom it has happened. such instances. “ Hold. only shows that the wisest men cannot rise in all things above the general ignorance of their age. That such stories are believed and told by grave historians. candid. is the word of some individual who has had the story. or some friend of the family. as it was narrated to him by the ghost of the murdered person. and will incline me always to feel alarmed in behalf of the continued health of a friend who should conceive himself to have witnessed such a visitation. For example. but most likely from his family. sir. I have certainly myself met with.the antiquities exhibited by a good-natured collector for the gratification of his guests. he is in danger of receiving answers. of whose veracity I had every reason to be confident. for example. and this with perfect unconsciousness on his own part. but he cannot be heard by proxy in this court. Far more commonly the narrator possesses no better means of knowledge than that of dwelling in the country where the thing happened. indeed. and his evidence the best possible. In estimating the truth or falsehood of such stories it is evident we can derive no proofs from that period of society when men affirmed boldly and believed stoutly all the wonders which could be coined or fancied. abstain from using the rules of cross-examination practised in a court of justice. and I'll hear him in person. who pledges it upon that of three or four persons. This difficulty will appear greater should a company have the rare good fortune to meet the person who himself witnessed the wonders which he tells. however agreeable to our love of the wonderful and the horrible. The judge stopped a witness who was about to give an account of the murder upon trial. which are rather fitted to support the credit of the story which they stand committed to maintain.” Yet it is upon the credit of one man. and if in any case he presumes to do so. to find an opportunity of dealing with an actual ghost-seer. he answers it on the hasty suggestion of his own imagination. wise. and resolute persons. under such circumstances. But in such instances shades of mental aberration have afterwards occurred. however.

a whole night. the age considered. because they had already sufficient grounds of conviction. with a friend. or from his ” companion of the watch. of which we are not told the import. might be tempted to give him his advice. They want evidence. When the particulars are precisely fixed and known. at a time when such stories were believed by all the world. that neither would they believe if one arose from the dead. I may mention.” or from his lordship's sister? And as in any other case such sure species of direct evidence would be necessary to prove the facts. in order to detect the cause of certain nocturnal disturbances which took place in a certain mansion. if we suppose that the incident was not a mere pretext to obtain access to the Duke's car. in the character of his father's spirit. who watched. desirous to make an impression upon Buckingham. It is true that the general wish to believe.Clarendon of the apparition of the ghost of Sir George Villiers to an ancient dependant. Shall we suppose that a miracle refused for the conversion of God's chosen people was sent on a vain errand to save the life of a profligate spendthrift ? I lay aside. as they believed them not. Vincent. you observe. and. Ricketts. The result of his lordship's vigil is said to have been that he heard the noises without being able to detect the causes. as an old servant of his house. it seems unreasonable to believe such a story on slighter terms. rather than power of believing. Vincent. it might be time to enquire whether Lord St. with a thousand different circumstances. might not be in some degree tinged with their tendency to superstition. as one of the class of tales I mean. The manner in which he had provoked the fury of the people must have warned every reflecting person of his approaching fate. and the ready dupe of astrologers and soothsayers. or whatever was the ghost-seer's name. his sister. it is said. having ascertained the existence of disturbances not immediately or easily detected. But who has heard or seen an authentic account from Earl St. that of the late Earl St. but does it follow that our reason must acquiesce in a statement so positively contradicted by the voice of Nature through all her works ? The miracle of raising a dead man was positively refused by our Saviour to the Jews. has given some such stories a certain currency in society. This is no doubt a story told by a grave author. numberless conjectures might be formed for accounting for the event in a natural way. and insisted on his sister giving up the house. who demanded it as a proof of his mission. It is the same with all those that are called accredited ghost stories usually told at the fireside. This is told as a real story. the messenger may have been impressed upon by an idle dream — in a word. and. and still farther. The Duke was superstitious. his lordship might not advise his sister . whether. amid the other eminent qualities of a first-rate seaman. Vincent. the most extravagant of which is more probable than that the laws of Nature were broken through in order to give a vain and fruitless warning to an ambitious minion. and authenticate the tale by the mention of some token known to him as a former retainer of the family. Or. it was not unnatural that a faithful friend should take this mode of calling his attention to his perilous situation. The house was under lease to Mrs. it was irresistibly argued by the Divine Person whom they tempted. entirely the not unreasonable supposition that Towers.

Another such story. And no doubt it must happen that the transpiring of incidents. an unwillingness very closely to examine such subjects. walk through society unchallenged. from the mention of respectable names as the parties who witnessed the vision. chief clerk to the jury Court. which attain a sort of brevet rank as true. it was first circulated. in my mind. although. The following story was narrated to me by my friend. and bearing creditable names on their front. how. With Mr. in which the name of a lady of condition is made use of as having seen an apparition in a country-seat in France. apparitions which were invisible to others. from a passenger in the mail-coach. who meditated his exit from the world. Mr. is also one of those accredited ghost tales. But we are left without a glimpse when. There is. The story of two highly respectable officers in the British army. although all agree in the general event. contributes to the increase of such stories — which do accordingly sometimes meet us in a shape of veracity difficult to question. that the unfortunate nobleman had previously determined to take poison. but the circumstances (though very remarkable) did not. and in what terms. than that a messenger should be sent from the dead to tell a libertine at what precise hour he should expire. when he first learned it. and in what manner. But it is still more credible that a whimsical man should do so wild a thing. and among the numbers by whom it has been quoted. The remarkable circumstance of Thomas. prophesying his own death within a few minutes. Clerk's consent. it maybe. as also by whom. even of those who pretend to the best information. But it is sufficient to show that such stories as these. who are supposed to have seen the spectre of the brother of one of them in a hut. That the house was disturbed seems to be certain. is so far better borne out than those I have mentioned. this story obtained its currency. the signatures are forged after all. for the secret fund of superstition in every man's bosom is gratified by believing them to be true. the second Lord Lyttelton. scarcely two. though he might believe that poachers or smugglers were the worst ghosts by whom it was disturbed. in America. or at least induces him to abstain from challenging them as false. But of late it has been said and published. I gave the story at that time to . should have chosen to play such a trick on his friends. tell the story in the same way. William Clerk. It was no doubt singular that a man. or barrack. by any means exclude the probability that the disturbance and appearances were occasioned by the dexterous management of some mischievously-disposed persons. like bills through a bank when they bear respectable indorsations. that I have seen a narrative of the circumstances attested by the party principally concerned. and of course had it in his own power to ascertain the execution of the prediction. To this list other stories of the same class might be added. has been always quoted as a true story. Edinburgh. having gained a certain degree of currency in the world.rather to remove than to remain in a house so haunted. indeed. or conceived that they saw. now nearly thirty years ago. upon the information of an apparition. in which men have actually seen.

fired. since he credited such auguries. but subject to fits of humour. “ I cannot tell you that. “ Sir. “ I may have my own reasons for doing. in a towering passion. the narrative is better calculated for prose than verse. In the course of the desultory conversation which takes place on such occasions the seaman observed. and said. however. the captain ran down to his cabin. in the mail-coach. he confessed that. ” but all the world agrees that one magpie bodes bad luck — two are not so bad. intelligent. of which town he seemed to be a native. and once I had near lost my vessel. sometimes kind and courteous to his men. which confirmed . He seldom spoke to this person without threats and abuse. On being further urged. “ I wish we may have good luck on our journey — there is a magpie. Clerk to observe that he supposed he believed also in ghosts. found himself in company. William Clerk.” ” And why should that be unlucky?” said my friend. abused the seaman as a lubberly rascal. or some such name. an elderly man. He fixed his eyes on the captain. and the second I fell from a horse. with the license which sailors take on merchant vessels. but I will never leave you.” The captain. and stretched on the deck. On one occasion Bill Jones appeared slow in getting out on the yard to hand a sail. with which he took deliberate aim at the supposed mutineer. where they made food for the negroes. so. who published it with a ghost-ballad which he adjusted on the same theme. Our mariner had in his youth gone mate of a slave vessel from Liverpool. but three are the devil.” and he spoke this in a deep and serious manner. and cruel. during which he was very violent.poor Mat Lewis. “ And if I do. The man made a saucy answer. implying that he felt deeply what he was saying. according to custom.” This conversation led Mr. and acute persons whom I have known in the course of my life. and mortally wounded him. dislike. who got fat by leaving his duty to other people. if he could believe his own eyes. with a naïveté . in return. almost amounting to mutiny. I am willing to preserve the precise story in this place. The man died. tyrannical. was very apt to return. The captain. there was one ghost at least which he had seen repeatedly. and was hurt. on a journey to London. It was about the eventful year 1800. evidently dying. swore at him for a fat lubber. and see how much fat he had got. which the old man. and said he would have him thrown into the slave-kettle. and passion. and returned with a blunderbuss loaded with slugs.” replied the sailor. and more especially as the friend to whom it was originally communicated is one of the most accurate. that my friend Mr. I never saw three magpies but twice. you have done for me. He took a particular dislike at one sailor aboard. when the Emperor Paul laid his ill-judged embargo on British trade. From the minuteness of the original detail. He then told his story as I now relate it.” said the sailor. on which. and the narrator observed. The captain of the vessel was a man of a variable temper. in compliance with a common superstition. The man was handed down from the yard. called Bill Jones. with a seafaring man of middle age and respectable appearance. who announced himself as master of a vessel in the Baltic trade. and a sufferer by the embargo. His body was actually thrown into the slave-kettle.

and was running astern at the rate of six knots an hour. and leave him. At this moment the mate was called to the deck for some purpose or other. After hearing this singular story Mr. dared not call his attention to it. He told me he would never leave me. Clerk asked some questions about the captain. He advised. after a moment's delay. The mate. to be seen no more. and clasped his hands towards the mate. and reiterated his determination to leave the ship. and the crew. After a day or two he came to the mate. At length the captain invited the mate.” The mate replied that his leaving the vessel while out of the sight of any land was impossible. he ordered him to be confined below. especially if a sail was to be handed. but he took no notice of it for some time. and never out of my sight.” The captain told the crew they must keep absolute silence on the subject of what had passed. and I have resolved to leave you. that might to a certain degree have verified the . calling. and obtained his liberty. When he mingled among the crew once more he found them impressed with the idea. When just about to sink he seemed to make a last exertion. sprung half out of the water. and whether his companion considered him as at all times rational. The sailor seemed struck with the question. You only see him now and then. Jack. “ There was not much fat about him after all. to go down to the cabin and take a glass of grog with him. and looking over the ship's side. “ By — . to carry the vessel into Liverpool. and as the mate was willing to give an explicit and absolute promise. and he has kept his word. that if the captain apprehended any bad consequences from what had happened. and demanded if he had an intention to deliver him tip for trial when the vessel got home. but he is always by my side. saw that the captain had thrown himself into the sea from the quarter-gallery. that the ghost of the dead man appeared among them when they a had a spell of duty. The narrator had seen this apparition himself repeatedly — he believed the captain saw it also. terrified at the violent temper of the man. that in general he conversationed well enough.the extent of his own belief in the truth of what he told. who was now in a sort of favour. who was tired of close confinement in that sultry climate. the mate. and answered. but want of time and other circumstances prevented Mr. Bill is with me now !” and then sunk. It would have been desirable to have been able to ascertain how far this extraordinary tale was founded on fact. and there go ashore. “ I need not tell you. Thus they held on their course homeward with great fear and anxiety. In this interview he assumed a very grave and anxious aspect. on which occasion the spectre was sure to be out upon the yard before any of the crew. not unnatural in their situation. he should run for the west of France or Ireland.” he said. Clerk from learning the names and dates. The captain only shook his head gloomily. and the instant he got up the companion-ladder he heard a splash in the water. At this very moment I see him — I am determined to bear it no longer. spoke his commander fair. “ what sort of hand we have got on board with us.

desiring to be called when the first Portsmouth coach came. his first words as he awoke were: “ My God ! I did not kill him. and accompanied with such vivid lightning and thunder so dreadfully loud. as the captain was a man of a passionate and irritable disposition. and changing his dress after the deed was done. another instance of a guilt-formed phantom. Jarvis Matcham — such. Clerk be not allowed this degree of credit. he must at least be admitted to have displayed a singular talent for the composition of the horrible in fiction. and avail himself of some balance of money to make his escape. I am. there was nothing more likely to arise among the ship's company than the belief in the apparition. was paid off. and some of the crew. tolerably correct in the details. were dismissed as too old for service. where he halted and went to bed. especially as lie was compelled to avoid communicating his sentiments with any one else. as congenial to this story. and behaved remarkably well in some actions. The waiter summoned him accordingly. I think. and began to look . the victim of remorse. when he shook the guest by the shoulder. and other charges which fell within his duty. though I have lost the account of the trial. that the obdurate conscience of the old sinner began to be awakened. The tale. He expressed more terror than seemed natural for one who was familiar with the war of elements. made a long walk across the country to an inn on the Portsmouth road. bounty of recruits (then a large sum). amongst whom was Jarvis Matcham. I know not which. where he was so highly esteemed as a steady and accurate man that he was permitted opportunity to embezzle a considerable part of the money lodged in his hands for pay of soldiers. He meditated this wickedness the more readily that the drummer. had been put as a spy on him. might have made the fortune of a romancer.” Matcham went to the seaport by file coach. In the desperation of his crime he resolved to murder the poor boy. should participate in the horrible visions of those less concerned. He was afloat for several years. His sobriety and attention to duty gained him the same good opinion of the officers in his new service which he had enjoyed in the army. and would have deserted had it not been for the presence of a little drummer lad. and this perhaps under some shade of suspicion. He and another seaman resolved to walk to town. and the tale to have been truly told. Matcham perceived discovery was at hand. he thought. but long after remembered that. if I am not mistaken. and the catastrophe would in such a case be but the natural consequence of that superstitious remorse which has conducted so many criminals to suicide or the gallows.events. which made considerable noise about twenty years ago or more. If the fellow-traveller of Mr. was the name of my hero — was pay-sergeant in a regiment. I cannot forbear giving you. Granting the murder to have taken place. It was when within two or three miles of this celebrated city that they were overtaken by a tempest so sudden. properly detailed. who was the only one of his party appointed to attend him. He was summoned to join his regiment from a town where he had been on the recruiting service. and instantly entered as an able-bodied landsman or marine. and took the route by Salisbury. At length the vessel came into Plymouth. it was nowise improbable that he. He perpetrated his crime.

with respect to which it is more difficult. and pleaded Not Guilty. alias Clark. and Alexander Bain . as he would desire a shipmate to profit by his fate. the influence of superstitious fear may be the appointed means of bringing the criminal to repentance for his own sake. with a tone of mystery and fear. By this time. The criminal fetched a deep groan. The prisoner denied his confession. 1754.” he added. Similar stories might be produced. and the waiter remembered the ominous words which he had spoken when he awoke him to join the Portsmouth coach. and added that. infected by the superstition of his associate. however. so I shall dwell on them no further. he wished his comrade to deliver him up to the magistrates of Salisbury. but rather advert to at least an equally abundant class of ghost stories. He then confessed the murder of the drummer. and declared that he was unable longer to endure the life which he had led for years. as a considerable reward had been offered. Jarvis Matcham was found guilty and executed. forms and customs peculiar to themselves. Having overcome his friend's objections to this mode of proceeding. In this respect we must certainly allow that ghosts have. who. When his last chance of life was over he returned to his confession. so much to the terror of his comrade that he conjured him. “ to know what to think. “ who is that little drummer-boy. and Jarvis Matcham complained that the stones still flew after him and did not pursue the other. full evidence had been procured from other quarters. if he had anything on his mind.” Upon the 10th of June. to use James Boswell's phrase. Duncan Terig.” answered the seaman. acquainting some stranger or ignorant old woman with the particulars of his fate. under the direction of Heaven. Jarvis Matcham was surrendered to justice accordingly. though perhaps unacquainted with all the parties. Witnesses appeared from his former regiment to prove his identity with the murderer and deserter. “ But what is worse.and talk so wildly that his companion became aware that something more than usual was the matter. and what business has he to follow us so closely ?” ” I can see no one. where the grossness of the imposture detects itself. and with his dying breath averred and truly. but proceeds in a very circuitous manner. is directed by a phantom to lay the facts before a magistrate. He desired the man to walk on the other side of the highway to see if they would follow him when he was alone. as we are informed by the facetious Captain Grose. and whispering. The sailor complied. “ What! not see that little boy with the bloody pantaloons !” exclaimed the secret murderer. But occasionally cases occur like the following. as he thought. which he was now convinced was inevitable. in which the apparition is pleased not to torment the actual murderer. But before the trial the love of life returned. the truth of the vision on Salisbury Plain. and to punishment for the advantage of society. At length Matcham complained to his companion that the stones rose from the road and flew after him. to make a clear conscience as far as confession could do it. There would be no edification and little amusement in treating of clumsy deceptions of this kind. Cases of this kind are numerous and easily imagined. coming up to his companion. showing plainly that. and made a full confession of his guilt.

replied. The witness.” answered the counsel. and there found the bones of a human body much decayed. who was himself ignorant of English. who found the accused parties not guilty. 1749. two Highlanders. “ What language did the ghost speak in ?” The witness. sergeant in Guise's regiment. for. had called him to the burial of the bones. to rise and follow him out of doors. a person who slept in one of the beds which run along the wall in an ordinary Highland hut. however. upbraiding him with his breach of promise. At length. on the jury. he said. The accident happened not long after the civil war. In this case the interference of the ghost seems to have rather impeded the vengeance which it was doubtless the murdered sergeant's desire to obtain. who gave the following extraordinary account of his cause of knowledge: — He was. It appears that Sergeant Davis was missing for years. in bed in his cottage. and although there were other strong presumptions against the prisoners. on the 28th September. MacPherson. an account of the murder appeared from the evidence of one Alexander MacPherson (a Highlander. He desired him to take Farquharson with him as an assistant. she saw a naked man enter the house and go towards MacPherson's bed. and sworn by an interpreter). the witness did as he was bid. for the murder of Arthur Davis. On this occasion the witness asked the ghost who were the murderers. It was followed up by the counsel for the prisoners asking.” “ Pretty well for the ghost of an English sergeant. were tried before the Court of justiciary. speaking no language but Gaelic. The inference was rather smart and plausible than sound. which lay concealed in a place he pointed out in a moorland tract called the Hill of Christie. we know too little of the other world to judge whether all languages may not be alike familiar to those who belonged to it. when an apparition came to his bedside and commanded him. the embers of which were still reeking.MacDonald. Farquharson was brought in evidence to prove that the preceding witness. although their counsel and solicitor and most of the court were satisfied of their having committed the murder. Yet there may be various modes of explaining this mysterious story. and told him the same story which he repeated in court. in the cross-examination of MacPherson. the apparition of the ghost being admitted. Next day the witness went to the place specified. might be privately cut off by the inhabitants of these wilds. after this second visitation. It imposed. of which the . called the assistance of Farquharson. so there existed too many reasons on account of which an English soldier. straggling far from assistance. in consequence of which negligence the sergeant's ghost again appeared to him. and requested him to go and bury his mortal remains. Yet though the supernatural incident was thus fortified. without any certainty as to his fate. “ As good Gaelic as I ever heard in Lochaber. a neighbour and friend. and buried the body. Edinburgh. the story of the apparition threw an air of ridicule on the whole evidence for the prosecution. Isabel MacHardie. The witness did not at that time bury the bones so found. Believing his visitor to be one Farquharson. declared that upon the night when MacPherson said he saw the ghost. and when they were without the cottage. and received for answer that he had been slain by the prisoners at the bar. the appearance told the witness he was the ghost of Sergeant Davis.

13th October. which were set down to the same cause. but which carne and passed as mere earthly dogs cannot do. although he might probably have been murdered if his delation of the crime had been supposed voluntary. or the author of the legend. But through the whole Highlands there is no character more detestable than that of an informer. in considering the truth of stories of ghosts and apparitions. were tossed through the house. But in the course of their progress they were encountered by obstacles which apparently came from the next world. he entertained a wish to bring them to justice. This explanation. Trenchers ” without a wish” flew at their heads of free will. We shall separately notice an instance or two of either kind. whether on the part of those who are agents in the supposed disturbances. Logs of wood. It is therefore of the last consequence. and may also suppose that. to consider the possibility of wilful deception.following conjecture may pass for one. the remains of a very large tree called the King's Oak. The most celebrated instance in which human agency was used to copy the disturbances imputed to supernatural beings refers to the ancient palace of Woodstock. though the opposition offered was rather of a playful and malicious than of a dangerous cast. considering that all the fiends of hell were let loose upon them. Thunder and lightning came next. and it is far from being impossible that he had recourse to the story of the ghost. in their opinion. or one who takes what is called Tascal-money. Their bed-chambers were infested with visits of a thing resembling a dog. Other and worse tricks were practised on the astonished Commissioners who. perhaps as an accomplice or otherwise. retreated from Woodstock without completing an errand which was. in exact conformity with the sentiments of the Highlanders on such subjects. which kicked a candlestick and lighted candle into the middle of the room. determined to wipe away the memory of all that connected itself with the recollection of monarchy in England. The Commissioners arrived at Woodstock. in different shapes. and then dropped with violence. after the Restoration. would reduce the whole story to a stroke of address on the part of the witness. While they were in bed the feet of their couches were lifted higher than their heads. impeded by infernal powers. To have informed against Terig and MacDonald might have cost MacPherson his life. The reader may suppose that MacPherson was privy to the fact of the murder. or reward for discovery of crimes. which they had splintered into billets for burning. knowing well that his superstitious countrymen would pardon his communicating the commission entrusted to him by a being from the other world. as they thought. and the chairs displaced and shuffled about. Spectres made their appearance. 1649. or of enmity to those who had committed it. when the Commissioners of the Long Parliament came down to dispark what had been lately a royal residence. and one of the party saw the apparition of a hoof. from motives of remorse for the action. The whole matter was. discovered to be the trick of one of their . and then politely scratched on the red snuff to extinguish it.

or where it is to be looked for. both at the extreme trouble taken by the agents in these impostures. who had attended the Commissioners as a clerk. dishes. named Anne Robinson. and glass-ware and small movables of every kind. In the year 1772. a young woman. The Commissioners' personal reliance on him made his task the more easy. contained in the house of Mrs. as common to our race as to that noble mimick of humanity. Similar disturbances have been often experienced while it was the custom to believe in and dread such frolics of the invisible world. active spirited man. threw the utmost consternation into the village of Stockwell. which induces the human being in all cases to enjoy and practise every means of employing an influence over his fellow-mortals. and impressed upon some of its inhabitants the inevitable belief that they were produced by invisible agents. The unearthly terrors experienced by the Commissioners are detailed with due gravity by Sinclair. shifted their places. Golding's maid.own party. that even the wisest and most prudent have not escaped its contagious influence. Still greater is our modern surprise at the apparently simple means by which terror has been excited to so general an extent. seemed suddenly to become animated. and also. To this is owing the delight with which every school-boy anticipates the effects of throwing a stone into a glass shop. was a concealed loyalist. and the slight motives from which they have been induced to do much wanton mischief. nor could she be prevailed on to sit down for a moment excepting while the family were at . and were broken to pieces. Plott. commencing upon Twelfth Day. Amidst this combustion. and well acquainted with the old mansion of Woodstock. Golding. The plates. near London. under the name of Giles Sharp. and I have myself seen it. the monkey. and with the risk of loss of character and punishment should the imposture be found out. china. I think. The particulars of this commotion were as curious as the loss and damage occasioned in this extraordinary manner were alarming and intolerable. to which we may safely add that general love of tormenting. and filling a household or neighbourhood with anxiety and dismay. Mrs. whose real name was Joseph Collins of Oxford. Being a bold. by Dr. an elderly lady. with little gratification to themselves besides the consciousness of dexterity if they remain undiscovered. and it was all along remarked that trusty Giles Sharp saw the most extraordinary sights and visions among the whole party. where he had been brought up before the Civil War. On the first point I am afraid there can be no better reason assigned than the conscious pride of superiority. But although the detection or explanation of the real history of the Woodstock demons has also been published. I have at this time forgotten whether it exists in a separate collection. This man. was walking backwards and forwards. Joe availed himself of his local knowledge of trap-doors and private passages so as to favour the tricks which he played off upon his masters by aid of his fellow-domestics. called Funny Joe . a train of transactions. and to this we must also ascribe the otherwise unaccountable pleasure which individuals have taken in practising the tricksy pranks of a goblin. and under circumstances which induce us to wonder. flew through the room.

Vitus's dance. . and had been nearly as famous as that of Cock Lane. She next abandoned her dwelling. and. but to know what has been discovered in many instances gives us the assurance of the ruling cause in all. Golding as she might be well termed. Walker. and coolly advised her mistress not to be alarmed or uneasy. and similar articles were suspended. She had fixed long horse hairs to some of the crockery. pushed them farther than she at first intended. her landlord reluctantly refused to shelter any longer a woman who seemed to be persecuted by so strange a subject of vexation. but detected at once by a sheriff's officer. There was a love story connected with the case. Brayfield. Mrs. in which the only magic was the dexterity of Anne Robinson and the simplicity of the spectators. terrified many wellmeaning persons. so that they fell on the slightest motion. but. and placed wires under others. who persuaded Anne. which may be hinted at as another imposture of the same kind. delighted with the success of her pranks. Golding's suspicions against Anne Robinson now gaining ground. that when I first met with the original publication I was strongly impressed with the belief that the narrative was like some of Swift's advertisements. Brayfield. Hone. she dismissed her maid. long after the events had happened.* Many such impositions have been detected. known by the name of the Stockwell ghost. Other things she dexterously threw about. So many and wonderful are the appearances described. minister at Dunottar. in the Mearns. which. which the spectators. At times. invited neighbours to stay in her house. This Anne Robinson had been but a few days in the old lady's service. She employed some simple chemical secrets. she loosened the hold of the strings by which the hams. considering such a commotion and demolition among her goods and chattels. But it was certainly published bona fide . by which she could throw them down without touching them. and many others have been successfully concealed. as these things could not be helped. This circumstance of itself indicates that Anne Robinson was the cause of these extraordinary disturbances. and the hubbub among her movables ceased at once and for ever. I remember a scene of the kind attempted to be got up near Edinburgh. but they soon became unable to bear the sight of these supernatural proceedings. The afflicted Mrs. Such was the solution of the whole mystery. and took refuge with a neighbour. to make him her confidant. on the authority of Mr. when the family were absent. finding his movables were seized with the same sort of St. during which time no disturbance happened. as has been since more completely ascertained by a Mr. and it was remarkable that she endured with great composure the extraordinary display which others beheld with terror.prayers. imputed to invisible agency. bacon. has since fully explained the wonder. not inconsistent with a degree of connexion with what was going forward. and Mr. who did not watch her motions. a sort of persons whose habits of incredulity and suspicious observation render them very dangerous spectators on such occasions. This excited an idea that she had some reason for being so composed. The late excellent Mr. a jocular experiment upon the credulity of the public. which went so far that not above two cups and saucers remained out of a valuable set of china.

Here a single circumstance explained the whole ghost story. Very often. although they are wonders at which in our fathers' time men would have cried out either sorcery or miracles. than acquiesce in an explanation resting on his having been too hasty a believer. The spectator also. who has been himself duped. Thus he lay in mortal agony for more than an hour. and unconsciously becomes disposed rather to colour more highly than the truth. He was given to understand by the family.. Being at that time no believer in such stories. and thence. in order to disguise from his vigilance the removal of certain modern enough spirits. only that his brows were bound with a bloody bandage. its one arm extended so as to master him if he attempted to rise. of having been imposed on. turf. with such dexterity that it was for a long time impossible to ascertain her agency in the disturbances of which she was the sole cause. apprehended. After which eclaireissment the same explanation struck all present. he was willing. the detection depends upon the combination of certain circumstances. in the antique and picturesque dress of his country. Struck with sudden and extreme fear. till. is yet unwilling to stand convicted by cross examination. or professors of legerdemain. viz. until the witching hour of night. too. which. as menacing the Lowlander if he should attempt to quit his recumbent position. the other hand held up in a warning and grave posture. where the ghost seer chanced to be resident. he attended little to this hint. The scene lay in an ancient castle on the coast of Morven or the Isle of Mull.gave me a curious account of an imposture of this kind. told him by an intelligent and bold man. makes no very respectable appearance when convicted of his error. who was surprisingly quick at throwing stones. necessarily explain the whole story. upon cross-examination. At other times it happens that the meanness and trifling nature of a cause not very . about an apparition. which his duty might have called upon him to seize. He looked tip at the figure of a tall Highlander. practised by a young country girl. and recollect that it is only the frequent exhibition of such powers which reconciles us to them as matters of course. to have sprung from bed. if too candid to add to the evidence of supernatural agency. I once heard a sensible and intelligent friend in company express himself convinced of the truth of a wonderful story. So singular a story had on its side the usual number of votes from the company. The belief of the spectators that such scenes of disturbance arise from invisible beings will appear less surprising if we consider the common feats of jugglers. when he was awakened from a dead sleep by the pressure of a human hand on his body. it was explained that the principal person concerned was an exciseman. the Highlanders of the mansion had chosen to detain the exciseman by the apparition of an ancient heroic ghost. after which it pleased the spectre of ancient days to leave him to more sound repose. but the spectre stood before him in the bright moonlight. and other missiles. that the chamber in which he slept was occasionally disquieted by supernatural appearances. For example. when betaking himself to rest.

while the silence of the night generally occasions the imputing to them more than the due importance which they would receive if mingled with the usual noises of daylight. It was the rule of this club that its members presided alternately. for the sake of privacy. even on account of that very meanness. in which it was able to raise the trap-door of its prison to a certain height. and which no one could have supposed unless some particular fortune occasioned a discovery. The noise of the fall. it is an incident so much to my purpose that you must pardon its insertion.obvious to observation has occasioned it to be entirely overlooked. On one occasion. by which they could enter the garden and reach the summer-house without the publicity or trouble of passing through the open tavern. They watched until the noise was heard. had a pass-key to the garden-door. there was a rumour among his servants concerning a strange noise heard in the family mansion at night. during those of autumn and winter they convened within the premises of a tavern. of which the old butler had the key. The gentleman resolved to watch himself. but. A rat caught in an old-fashioned trap had occasioned this tumult by its efforts to escape. but was then obliged to drop it. which they listened to with that strange uncertainty attending midnight sounds which prevents the hearers from immediately tracing them to the spot where they arise. had occasioned the disturbance which. An incident of this sort happened to a gentleman of birth and distinction. There are other occasions in which the ghost story is rendered credible by some remarkable combination of circumstances very unlikely to have happened. who is well known in the political world. might easily have established an accredited ghost story. but much lower than it had formerly seemed to be. and remained there for some time without hearing the noises which they had traced thither. but for the cool investigation of the proprietor. but it has been differently related. the cause of which they had found it impossible to trace. and who had begun to murmur strange things concerning the knocking having followed so close upon the death of his old master. at length the sound was heard. A club of persons connected with science and literature was formed at the great sea-town I have named. At length the gentleman and his servant traced the sounds which they had repeatedly heard to a small store-room used as a place for keeping provisions of various kinds for the family. The circumstance was told me by the gentleman to whom it happened. An apparition which took place at Plymouth is well known. The cause was immediately discovered. with a domestic who had grown old in the family. had their meeting in a summer-house situated in the garden. since no one is willing to acknowledge that he has been alarmed by a cause of little consequence. and was detected by the precision of his observation. at a distance from the main building. and having some reason to think the following edition correct. They entered this place. During the summer months the society met in a cave by the seashore. while acted upon at a distance by the imagination of the hearers. in the winter. the president of the evening chanced to be . and which he would be ashamed of mentioning. resounding through the house. Some of the members to whom the position of their own dwellings rendered this convenient. Shortly after he succeeded to his estate and title.

a nightcap round his brow. was reported to be on his death-bed. the door suddenly opened. the gentlemen sent to enquire after his health had reached his lodging by a more circuitous road. some dubious rumours of the tale found their way to the public. While they were upon this melancholy theme. was taken very ill. she forth-with hurried out of the house to seek him. they resolved to dispatch two of their number as ambassadors. to see how it fared with the president. In approaching and retiring from the apartment he had used one of the pass-keys already mentioned. she said. and met him in the act of returning. replaced in bed. The company remained deeply appalled. which made his way shorter. long before they reached his chamber. to convince her hearer of the truth of what she said. On the other hand. He wore a white wrapper. the conversation turned upon the absent gentleman's talents. then replaced it on the table. The astonished party then resolved that they would remain absolutely silent respecting the wonderful sight which they had seen. and on her death-bed was attended by a medical member of the philosophical club. and that she felt distress of conscience on account of the manner in which he died. The affair was therefore kept a strict secret. When. she found the bed empty and the patient gone. and put it to his lips. left vacant the chair which ought to have been occupied by him if in his usual health. and thus there had been time for him to return to what proved his death-bed. naming the president whose appearance had surprised the club so strangely. although. from a sentiment of respect. took the vacant place of ceremony. The philosophical witnesses of this . a deputation of two members from the club came to enquire after their president's health. She added. as usual. after many observations on the strangeness of what they had seen. an old woman who had long filled the place of a sicknurse. and stalked out of the room as silent as he had entered it. Their habits were too philosophical to permit them to believe that they had actually seen the ghost of their deceased brother. This confession explained the whole matter. she had been directed to keep a dose watch upon him during his illness. Several years afterwards. and received for answer that he was already dead.very ill. on her own awaking. Unhappily she slept. He stalked into the room with unusual gravity. who had thus strangely appeared among them. with many expressions of regret. for the same reason. They went. lifted the empty glass which stood before him. The club met as usual. and. and returned with the frightful intelligence that the friend after whom they had enquired was that evening deceased. but it was only to die there. from some recollections of his duty of the night. and the loss expected to the society by his death. She got him. and at the same time they were too wise men to wish to confirm the superstition of the vulgar by what might seem indubitable evidence of a ghost. The delirious patient had very naturally taken the road to the club. bowed around. indeed. at length. To him. she acknowledged that she had long before attended Mr. that immediately after the poor gentleman expired. She said that as his malady was attended by light-headedness. the appearance of which was that of death itself. — — . and the appearance of the president entered the room. and during her sleep the patient had awaked and left the apartment.

who had been left a widow very suddenly by an affectionate husband. for the hand of her who sat behind him. At his own house at length he arrived. when she could make her escape. Of these it is scarce necessary to quote instances. at which he had indulged himself with John Barleycorn. at all risks. He was pondering with some anxiety upon the dangers of travelling alone on a solitary road which passed the corner of a churchyard. “ Tak aff the ghaist !” They took off accordingly a female in white. but the following may be told as a tale recounted by a foreign nobleman known to me nearly thirty years ago. a manoeuvre which greatly increased the speed of the horse and the terror of the rider. to pass the apparition. standing on the corner of the churchyard wall. As he passed the corner where she was perched. When the farmer came close to the spot he dashed in the spurs and set the horse off upon a gallop. although scarcely so striking in its circumstances. He accordingly approached. The female was found to be a maniac. had it remained unexplained. as slowly as possible. it would have been very hard to have convinced the honest farmer that he had not actually performed part of his journey with a ghost behind him. proved too short for his friends and his native land. she contrived to drop behind the horseman and seize him round the waist. A Teviotdale farmer was riding from a fair. and impress them with ideas far different from the truth. but the spectre did not miss its opportunity. looked out. when pressed upon his. since it showed in what a remarkable manner men's eyes might turn traitors to them. If this woman. It was. and sometimes. Another occurrence of the same kind. with no opportunity of giving the apparent phantom what seamen call a wide berth. and the poor farmer himself was conveyed to bed. while the figure remained. have been either employed to dupe the spectators. where he lay struggling for weeks with a strong nervous fever. but not to that extent of defying goblins which it inspired into the gallant Tam o'Shanter. and bid the servants who came to attend him. There is also a large class of stories of this sort. ventriloquism. was yet one which. and the nature and cause of her malady induced her. however.strange scene were now as anxious to spread the story as they had formerly been to conceal it. the lord to whom it belonged had determined upon giving an entertainment worthy of his own rank and of the magnificence of the antique mansion . the only path which led to the rider's home. or have tended to do so through mere accident and coincidence. which was very possible. The road was very narrow. had dropt from the horse unobserved by him whom she had made her involuntary companion. now perfectly still and silent. lost in the service of his sovereign. might have passed as an indubitable instance of a supernatural apparition. where various secrets of chemistry. At a certain old castle on the confines of Hungary. of acoustics. the spot where the spectre stood. now near at hand. felt as cold as that of a corpse. and mistook every stranger on horseback for the husband she had lost. whose life. who therefore resolved. or other arts. to wander to the churchyard. where she sometimes wildly wept over his grave. now brandishing its arms and gibbering to the moon. when he saw before him in the moonlight a pale female form standing upon the very wall which surrounded the cemetery.

The ladies sung on. having left his candle burning and laid his trusty pistols. As he pronounced the word twenty he fired both pistols against the musical damsels — but the ladies sung on ! The major was overcome by the unexpected inefficacy of his violence. represented upon the misty clouds. he expostulated. Three ladies. “ I must consider this as a trick for the purpose of terrifying me. The apparition of the Brocken mountain. the last numbers. He had not slept an hour when he was awakened by a solemn strain of music. The major began to grow angry: “ Ladies. The guests of course were numerous. but the music was not interrupted. which makes the traveller's shadow. “ Ladies.” The song was uninterrupted — the five minutes were expired. to imagine they saw troops of horse and armies marching and countermarching. When the arrangements for the night were made this officer was informed that there would be difficulty in accommodating the company in the castle.” he said. as the person least likely to suffer a bad night's rest from such a cause. a threat which his habits would. seventeen — eighteen — nineteen. I shall take a rough mode of stopping it.” he said. it was supposed. fantastically dressed in green. and having shared the festivity of the evening. and repeating more than once his determination to fire. “ this is very well. two. which were in fact only the reflection of horses pasturing upon an .” he said. and that he only fired at their reflection thrown forward into that in which he slept by the effect of a concave mirror. He then got seriously angry: “ I will but wait five minutes. Somewhat contrary to the custom in these cases. He looked out. having denounced vengeance against any one who should presume by any trick to disturb his repose. large as was.” he said. and among them was a veteran officer of hussars. but on approaching the end of the number. “ and then fire without hesitation. retired after midnight. and an assurance that the pistols were cocked.which he inhabited. He counted one. ladies. is now ascertained by philosophers to be a gigantic reflection. “ while I count twenty. By a similar deception men have been induced. and had an illness which lasted more than three weeks. and that. render him sufficiently ready to execute. after having occasioned great admiration and some fear. and as I regard it as an impertinence. who sung a solemn requiem. The major thankfully accepted the preference. three accordingly. carefully loaded. the major went to bed. Other stories of the same kind are numerous and well known. appear a colossal figure of almost immeasurable size. the apartment was in the first place proposed for his occupation. The ladies sung on. were pronounced with considerable pauses between. on the table by his bedside. The major listened for some time with delight.” With that he began to handle his pistols. were seen in the lower end of the apartment. The trick put upon him may be shortly described by the fact that the female choristers were placed in an adjoining room. but somewhat monotonous — will you be so kind as to change the tune ?” The ladies continued singing. in Westmoreland and other mountainous countries. “ I still give you law.” This produced as little effect as his former threats. unless some one would take the risk of sleeping in a room supposed to be haunted. remarkable for his bravery. as he was known to be above such prejudices. at length he tired.

A bookseller of his acquaintance had. The young lady used sometimes to indulge the romantic love of solitude by sitting in her own apartment in the evening till twilight. He sat accordingly in his daughter's chamber. A very curious case of this kind was communicated to me by the son of the lady principally concerned. with such an air of truth. my dear. the figure bent gracefully towards her more than once. “ What do you think of this ?” said the daughter to the astonished father. as it were. hovering. divided from it by a small cabbage-garden. advised his friend to prefix the celebrated narrative of Mrs. rather overprinted an edition of ” Drelincourt on Death. the same pale light around the head. as of some aerial being. The experienced bookmaker.opposite height. but as the gray light faded into darkness. against the arched window in the end of the Anabaptist chapel. which the supposed spirit recommended to the perusal of her friend Mrs. and that was the whole matter.” said the father.” A strict research established a natural cause for the appearance on the window. He obtained an account of the cause of her disturbance. The back part of the house ran at right angles to an Anabaptist chapel. or of the forms of peaceful travellers. “ Anything. and while the young lady's attention was fixed on an object so extraordinary. arises from the dexterity and skill of the authors who have made it their business to present such stories in the shape most likely to attract belief. Defoe — whose power in rendering credible that which was in itself very much the reverse was so peculiarly distinguished — has not failed to show his superiority in this species of composition. that although in fact it does not afford a single tittle of evidence properly so called. Bargrave. Veal's ghost. with the purpose of recommending the edition. “ rather than allow that we look upon what is supernatural. and even darkness. and expressed his intention to watch in the apartment next night. and tends to show out of what mean materials a venerable apparition may be sometimes formed. to whom the garden beneath was rented. which he wrote for the occasion. it nevertheless was swallowed so eagerly by the people that Drelincourt's work on death. the same shadowy form. The seer of this striking vision descended to her family. as the evening before. the same female figure was seen hovering on the window. where she also attended him. moved off by . so much discomposed as to call her father's attention. in the trade phrase. As she stooped to gather her cabbages the reflection appeared to bend forward. and then disappeared. One evening while she was thus placed. affecting the credit of such supernatural communications. a man of sense and resolution.” and complained to Defoe of the loss which was likely to ensue. she was surprised to see a gleamy figure. It was the custom of an old woman. Another species of deception. the same inclinations. In youth this lady resided with her father. as if intimating a sense of her presence. The lantern she carried in her hand threw up the refracted reflection of her form on the chapel window. Its head was surrounded by that halo which painters give to the Catholic saints. and nothing appeared. Their house was situated in the principal street of a town of some size. instead of sleeping on the editor's shelf. was approaching. to go out at night to gather cabbages. Twilight came.

They had a child about five or six years old. incredible in itself. however. and drown the ship and goods. To which Mrs. It did not require the talents of Defoe. though in that species of composition he must stand unrivalled. at least (for it is of great length). whose only son and daughter resided in family with her. merely from the cunning of the narrator. lived an ancient gentlewoman named Mrs. Her son had several ships sailing between Ireland and England. and he that was once worth thousands was reduced to a very . and not without a sound kick. that would break. they were sure to be cast away and if they did come. Leckie. that her friends used to say to her. the old lady. I am afraid you will but little care to see or speak with me after my death. John Dunton. and an admonition to pay more attention to the next aged gentlewoman whom he met. but this ghost would appear in the same garb and likeness as when she was alive. a boat. and though it were never so great a calm. in Somersetshire. ho ! a boat. be soon lost to her friends. Leckie often made the somewhat startling reply: “ Forasmuch as you now seem to like me. a boat. that it was a thousand pities such an excellent. she had made a poor merchant of her son. though I believe you may have that satisfaction. he became suspicious of the condition of his companion. 'twas all one. and after her funeral was repeatedly seen in her personal likeness. and to each other. wreck. and did not come. One story is told of a doctor of physic walking into the fields. yet immediately there would arise a most dreadful storm. however. the story.thousands at once. The beginning of it. and showed some desire to be rid of her society. was received as true. Yet at this rate. no sooner did they make land. good-humoured gentlewoman must. whom he at first accosted civilly.” Die. at home and abroad. who in his return met with this spectre. they were cast away. and especially Mrs. would blow with a whistle. “ But this. standing at the mainmast. He got through at length with some difficulty. that she did not move her lips in speaking. by her frequent apparitions and disturbances. she did. It was equally dangerous to please and displease her. Leckie. was so pleasant in society.” says John Dunton. Offended at this. and the addition of a number of adventitious circumstances. and unsupported as it was by evidence or enquiry. “ was a petty and inconsiderable prank to what she played in her son's house and elsewhere. The son traded to Ireland. This family was generally respected in Mynehead. At Mynehead. to fix the public attention on a ghost story. a man of scribbling celebrity at the time. and. only the seamen would escape with their lives — the devil had no permission from God to take them away. ' A boat. and was supposed to be worth eight or ten thousand pounds. and cry. from her age. ho !' If any boatmen or seamen were in sight. and paid her the courtesy of handing her over a stile. Observing. for his fair estate was all buried in the sea. and obstructed his passage. by night and by noonday. has something in it a little new. She would at noonday appear upon the quay of Mynehead. and come in sight of England. the hag at next stile planted herself upon it. or her eyes in looking round. succeeded to a great degree in imposing upon the public a tale which he calls the Apparition Evidence. which no man alive could have conceived as having occurred to the mind of a person composing a fiction.

he always professed he never saw her. So deep was the impression made by the story on the inhabitants of Mynehead. then was she gone to the right. because I have been myself at two periods of my life. for knowing what an uncomfortable. and now their child is gone also. Leckie receives from the ghost to deliver to Atherton. dies within us when we obtain the age of manhood. only one evening their only child. why do you trouble me ?' ' Peace. you may guess at their grief and great sorrow. see her. who afterwards died by the hands of the executioner. fatal. there's your mother !' And when he would turn to the right side. and recovering the exercise of her reason. and then ship and goods went all out of hand to wreck. their estate is gone. the old beldam. it would become intolerably tedious were I to insist farther on the peculiar sort of genius by which stories of this kind may be embodied and prolonged. Leckie the younger goes up into her chamber to dress her head. * Dunton. look. but whether he did not. when they had descried land. but that part of the subject is too disagreeable and tedious to enter upon. but recollecting her affrighted spirits. and that mariners belonging to it often. having cast up a short and silent prayer to God. then was she gone to the left. about eleven in the forenoon. that the charm of the tale depends much upon the age of the person to whom it is addressed. she turns about. In her son's house she hath her constant haunts by day and night. this troublesome ghost would come as before. Sometimes when in bed with his wife. and losing voyage they should make of it. however. that it is said the tradition of Mrs. for whether the ship were his own or hired. which stopped her breath and strangled her. father ! help me. insomuch that he could at last get no ships wherein to stow his goods. or would not own if he did. mother ! for grandmother will choke me !' and before they could get to their child's assistance she had murdered it they finding the poor girl dead. and hope. and bespeaks her: ' In the name of God. I may. ' Husband. help me. cries out. ' I will do thee no hurt. whistle in a calm at the mainmast at noonday. mother. ' Oh.' ' What will you have of me ?' says the daughter.' say's the spectrum. already too desultory and too long. add. her throat having been pinched by two fingers. and that the vivacity of fancy which engages us in youth to pass over much that is absurd. engaged in scenes favourable to that degree of . they did all decline his service. lying in a ruckle-bed under them. looking over her shoulder. nor any mariner to sail in them. I am the more conscious of this. conceive they hear the whistle-call of the implacable hag who was the source of so much mischief to her own family. a girl of about five or six years old.”&c. faith. a guilty and unfortunate man. proceeds to inform us a length of a commission which the wife of Mr. and the sadder and graver regions which lie beyond it. This cast her into a great horror. and when to the left side of the bed. One morning after the child's funeral. Bishop of Waterford. in order to enjoy some single trait of imagination. Mrs.poor and low condition in the world. However. This was the sorest of all their afflictions. her husband being abroad. or he had but goods on board it to the value of twenty shillings. she would cry out. and as she was looking into the glass she spies her mother-in-law. amid tempestuous weather. Leckie still remains in that port. distant from each other. the narrator an probably the contriver of the story.

whose turrets. then seneschal of the castle. It contains also a curious monument of the peril of feudal times. with the pieces of chivalric armour hanging upon the walls. his heir apparent. by the law or custom of the family.. in a situation somewhat similar to that which I have described. we were welcomed to the castle with Highland hospitality. the whole night-scene in Macbeth's castle rushed at once upon my mind.. the Earl of Strathmore. which. when I happened to pass a night in the magnificent old baronial castle of Glammis. and the wild and straggling arrangement of the accommodation within doors. In spite of the truth of history. viz. I experienced sensations which. I had been on a pleasure voyage with some friends around the north coast of Scotland. after a cruise of some duration. while they were mingled at the same time with a strange and indescribable kind of pleasure. The hoary pile contains much in its appearance. the hereditary seat of the Earls of Strathmore. but Malcolm the Second.superstitious awe which my countrymen expressively call being eerie. not indeed the gracious Duncan. greatly contributed to the general effect of the whole. the access must have been extremely . in Lord Strathmore's absence. then past middle life. the recollection of which affords me gratification at this moment. the more ancient is referred to a period “ whose birth tradition notes not. situated upon a frowning rock. I was conducted to my apartment in a distant corner of the building. after my conductor had retired. when I was there. it was. and I myself in particular. and said by tradition to be the spot of Malcolm's murder. In the year 1814 accident placed me. and any third person whom they may take into their confidence. being a secret chamber. garnished with stags' antlers and similar trophies of the chase. the entrance of which.” a vaulted apartment. and I had an idea of the vicinity of the castle chapel. rise immediately above the waves of the loch. The extreme antiquity of the building is vouched by the immense thickness of the walls. that as I heard door after door shut. I began to consider myself too far from the living and somewhat too near the dead. and in the traditions connected with it.. did not fail to affect me to the point of being disagreeable. As most of the party. On the first of these occasions I was only nineteen or twenty years old. impressive to the imagination. I must own. In a word. We had passed through what is called ” The King's Room. and in that course had arrived in the salt-water lake under the castle of Dunvegan. The most modern part of the castle was founded in the days of James VI. and struck my imagination more forcibly than even when I have seen its terrors represented by the late John Kemble and his inimitable sister. and glad to find ourselves in polished society. must only be known to three persons at once. though not remarkable either for timidity or superstition. chanced to be well known to the Laird of Macleod. but half-furnished. Esq. and that with movables of great antiquity. As the late Earl of Strathmore seldom resided in that ancient mansion. It was the scene of the murder of a Scottish king of great antiquity. with whom the name naturally associates itself. After a very hospitable reception from the late Peter Proctor.” Until the present Macleod connected by a drawbridge the site of the castle with the mainland of Skye.

From this I am taught to infer that tales of ghosts and demonology are out of date at forty years and upwards. like the buildings we read of in the romances of Mrs. nothing could have been more comfortable than th interior of the apartment. I took possession of it about the witching hour. have obtained the name of Macleod's Maidens. which. and as such it well deserved a less sleepy inhabitant. The voice of an angry cascade. rising from the sea in forms something resembling the human figure. Amid such tales of ancient tradition I had from Macleod and his lady the courteous offer of the haunted apartment castle. and the extreme thickness of the walls. which had sometimes been used against privateers even of late years. In the language of Dr Johnson. and will still float in the third. and in such a night seemed no bad representatives of the Norwegian goddesses called Choosers of the Slain. in which I hoped to make amends for some nights on ship-board. that it is only in the morning of life that this feeling of superstition ” comes . because that chief slept best in its vicinity. it is necessary to confess that. We reviewed the arms and ancient valuables of this distinguished family — saw the dirk and broadsword of Rorie Mhor. that in former times the only access to the mansion arose through a vaulted cavern in a rock. Macleod's Dining-Tables. and his horn. so much greater was the regard paid to security than to convenience. the most engaging spectacle was the comfortable bed. The distant scene was a view of that part of the Quillan mountains which are called. of all I heard or saw. and many a superstitious legend. when the Elfin Sovereign shall. to fill occasional intervals in the music and song. or Riders of the Storm. Accordingly. for on a platform beneath the windows lay an ancient battery of cannon. the bloodiest and the last. was of course furnished with many a tale of tradition. in the extremity of the Highlands. nor the fairy banner given to Macleod by the Queen of Fairies. and wondered that I was not more affected. after the fight is ended. was heard from time mingling its notes with those of wind and wave. up which a staircase ascended from the sea-shore. The solemn drinking-cup of the Kings of Alan must not be forgotten. recall her banner. that magic flag which has been victorious in two pitched fields. which argued great antiquity. termed the Nurse of Rorie Mhor. about which. swept along the troubled billows of the lake. who has stamped his memory on this remote placed. which would drench three chiefs of these degenerate days. Except perhaps some tapestry hangings. There was something of the dignity of danger in the scene. Indeed. as proper to the halls of Dunvegan as when Johnson commemorated them. and carry off the standard-bearer. The waves rushed in wild disorder on the shore. which it occasionally concealed. Such was the haunted room at Dunvegan.difficult. and by fits disclosed. but if you looked from the windows the view was such as to correspond with the highest tone of superstition. Such a castle. but the mind is not at all times equally ready to be moved. I might be supposed interested. and where I slept accordingly thinking of ghost or goblin till I was called by my servant in the morning. an covered with foam the steep piles of rock. “ I looked around me. from their form. as a stranger. An autumnal blast. sometimes driving mist before it.” In a word. Radcliffe.

THE END ————————————— .” affecting us with fear which is solemn and awful rather than painful. render it no useless occupation to compare the follies of our fathers with our own. both of superstition and the disposition to believe in its doctrines. that the grosser faults of our ancestors are now out of date. and I am tempted to think that. as may. without much trouble. however.o'er us like a summer cloud. There remains hope. however. and then burning them for their pains. if I were to write on the subject at all. in conscience carry my opinion of my countrymen's good sense so far as to exculpate them entirely from the charge of credulity. see such manifest signs. Those who are disposed to look for them may. and that whatever follies the present race may be guilty of. and it seems yet more clear that every generation of the human race must swallow a certain measure of nonsense. and might have been at least amusing if I could not be instructive. and the most ordinary mechanic has learning sufficient to laugh at the figments which in former times were believed by far advanced in the deepest knowledge of the age. it should have been during a period of life when I could have treated it with more interesting vivacity. Even the present fashion of the world seems to be ill suited for studies of this fantastic nature. I cannot. the sense of humanity is too universally spread to permit them to think of tormenting wretches till they confess what is impossible. The sailors have a proverb that every man in his lifetime must eat a peck of impurity.

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